My friend Kristy sent me this link to an article on a very apropos topic around here, about what the author calls AITP syndrome
(Ants in the Pants syndrome), which Roan suffers from incessantly.
Having grown up in a small Manhattan apartment my concept of a normal, spacious childhood is fairly skewed. I pretty much didn't go outside unescorted by an adult until I was 10. I hated gym class and favored hand clapping games over tag. But I am sure the contrast of city vs country childhoods resonates strongly with Sam, who moved to the Scottish countryside from London at age 7. He had the kind of unfettered scale-a-tree or build-a-mudslide type of childhood that most city boys would envy. There was far less structured lesson time and far more wander-in-a-field-and-hunt-rabbits time.
Roan is a kid who has to move. All the time. So it's been a challenge to find ways to give him the space and the freedom that he physically seems to crave daily. I think the other issue, aside from space, is the value judgements that adults - especially teachers and administrators - place on physical expression. It's almost as if they see no link between moving your body and using your brain. We've already heard the complaint many times "he can't still", to which I replied "what is so important to him about sitting still?" to which no one has a clear answer. It's important to them because it's much easier to manage 15 or 30 (or 900) kids when they are sitting still, but that really isn't about what's best for the kids is it?
I went to NYC public school and always felt confident that my kids would go (and let's face it, there's no way I'm sending my kid to some school for $40,000 a year so they can learn to snort coke at the rich kids' houses while their parents are in the Hamptons). But I am starting to become concerned that a kid like Roan is going to have a really, really hard time in a system that values stillness above all else. And where all acknowledged intelligence is associated with books and computers.
To me Sam is the perfect example of how not everyone is meant to learn in the same way because not everyone is meant to have the same skills or the same jobs. I took Roan to visit Sam's studio, which he shares with his business partner Ben, and he was enamoured of every single thing.
You can see their work at http://samandbenmakethings.blogspot.com/
|Going for a ride of the freight elevator|
|This is the first thing I saw when i got there. Charming|
|Paint and more paint|
|Everything is organized in such a "Sam" way|
|Diaper change on the table saw (pre potty training)|
|Every inch of the space is used cleverly|
|Another day at the office|
Sam gave Roan a tour of all the tools and toys. Not a bad "Take your Son to Work" experience.
Then Sam put Roan to work in the back yard.