Walking slowly past the antique shop, a mother and preschooler stop to peer in the window. “Those are called ‘antiques’, says mom. “They are very old and often fragile. That’s why they look so worn out and dusty.” “Grandma is old” says the child. “Is she an antique?” “No honey. People are not antique. Only things are antique. Besides, Grandma’s not dusty!” The two share a laugh.
As they approach the bagel shop, the child asked “Why is that man sweeping the sidewalk?” Mom replies, “I wonder if he owns a business here and wants to keep his place clean, just like we keep our house clean.” “Maybe, so”, says the child. They get to the solid wood door of the bagel shop. Mom pulls hard. “Whoa, that door is heavy”, she exclaims. Do you want to try?” She encourages the child to open the door herself, assisting as the child struggles with the weight.
Inside, the child looks around and heads straight to the bagel case. “Purple ones”, the child exclaims. “Yes, those are purple because they contain blueberries.” “I want a purple one”, says the child. “I would like a purple one, please” repeats mom. “I would like a purple one, please” says the child. “Would you like cream cheese or peanut butter on your bagel?” “ Peanut butter please’, replies the smiling child. She looks proud of herself for remembering the “please”.
Great job, mom! Did you know that you have just prepared your child for school success? Joy, new vocabulary, and good manners were all experienced in this pleasant trip to the bagel shop. And your child hit the educational jackpot! Congratulate yourself for the learning opportunities you provided for her. She had a discussion about what it means to be “antique”. She heard new vocabulary words such as “fragile”, and “contain” that will be familiar to her in the books you read together. She experienced the concept of “heavy” in a concrete way as she tugged on the door herself. She practiced decision making as you offered her choice of bagel, and she echoed the good manners that you modeled for her. This adventure was so rich in learning and fun for both of you. Taking advantage of every day moments is the key!
P.S. Better warn Grandma that she is “antique”!