“Princess Sofia” presented herself to her audience in a tilted tiara, a grubby turtleneck poking out of a now-ragged lavender sequin gown, face smeared with two layers of dried brown food.
But when my daughter, Charlotte, flashed a grin the size of Lake Superior, the entire front office staff at Liberty Elementary School stopped what they were doing to respectfully “Ooh!” and “Aahh!”
There’s something simply captivating about a 3-year-old caught up in the world of pretend play.
The early years are one of the few times in our lives when we have few boundaries, and those that do exist can be easily vaulted with a wave of a wand—even if said implement is made from an empty paper towel roll.
Which is why I took this job blogging about little ones for Education Week.
As a journalist, I’ve spent the past 16 years writing about education and parenting for various publications—eight years, in fact, were spent as a staff writer at this newspaper covering everything from teachers’ unions to philanthropy to higher education—and I find myself drawn time and again to this early stage of human development.
I marvel at the implicit perfection of babies, toddlers and preschoolers, then wonder how technology will impact them. I’m pretty sure we can’t improve upon children, but quite possibly we can give them tools to further unleash their imagination. (Or maybe we’ll have a hand in squashing some of it?)
I’m curious to see what science reveals to us about the nuanced minds of the very young. How do we learn language and math, develop healthy social relationships, form preferences and biases, develop good citizens and philanthropists?
I’d like to be the first in line to see how we grown-ups can make the world easier for our youngest citizens, especially if they enter into it with special needs. Can we level the playing field? How do they cope and contribute to our society if we don’t--or won’t?
Because I have a toddler--as well as 8-year-old twins—I come to the job with a vested interest in making education and parenting more meaningful for all involved.
Furthermore, I know that the majority of you are parents yourselves, aim to be one, or have a hand in somehow guiding those now in their early years. This makes you ideal sources. Please e-mail me or call me from the front lines of your lives with story ideas and observations. I can be contacted at: email@example.com.
I will do my very best to answer your inquiries, but I know you’ll pardon me if it takes some time to return your communication. Sometimes, I’m very busy in the court of a precious princess.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.