Scaffolding & Learning New Skills

It’s funny but I never realized what a bookish child I was. Ever since I was 3 years old, my siblings have been in school. So I spend hours at home reading by myself when my siblings are in school. We do not have a yard to run around outdoors, just a small garden. So I was a pretty nonathletic kid even though I didn’t know it. When I went to kindergarten, I finally noticed that I run slower than most of the other kids and felt quite dejected. It didn’t stop me from playing lots of police and thief (兵抓贼)or other tag games.

Calvin isn’t as athletic as other kids perhaps because he was premature and was a late walker. Maybe we were just over protective first time parents. He also does not relish physical challenges. Whatever the case, we found ourselves needing to encourage and teach him things that other children may pick up naturally. He also gets easily discouraged so I’ve learned to provide more scaffolding for him by breaking the task into smaller steps so he can get enjoyment from small successes and building on each small step, incrementally being able to perform the task. For example, recently he was trying to climb down the rock wall and after lying on his belly trying to reach his foot down, declared “I can’t do it! I’m too scared!”. I asked him to try from the bottom and start with climbing two steps up, then climb down. If successful, try 3 steps up, then climb down. And repeat until he gets all the way up. He managed to do it and was even able to show his papa what he could do later.

He has been saying that baseball is his favorite sport so I made a bat out of rolled up brown paper and hung a ball from a tree so he could practice swinging. We’ve been playing ball games too, throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing etc. I have been consciously trying to get us at least 1 hour of outdoor time a day this summer. Part of it was because of this research I read that time spent outdoors is inversely correlated with incidence of myopia. (We suspect that Calvin is myopic but I’m hoping it will not progress or may even get better over time) The environment in family housing is very conducive since there is a large playground and open grassy areas right outside our door. I’m starting to really enjoy being outside and Calvin loves being outdoors and would not hesitate to sit down on any patch of grass or dirt. We are both noticeably more energetic after having some outside time. Hopefully, we’ll continue our outdoors habit even when school starts.

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