Early Learning

Nelson Mandela Reminds Us of What Children Already Know

With the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth this month, there are many of his quotes on social media to inspire us. One of my favorites is this one, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Children learn the falling-down and getting-up lesson very early on and it’s a powerful learning strategy.

circle action songs for kidsWhat do kids usually do after they fall down? They get up. Fall down, get up; fall, down, get up. When learning to walk, run, skate, ski, climb, skateboard, balance, do cartwheels, etc, kids sometimes spend more time in the down position than the up. Adults help them and they learn to do it by themselves. And that’s another lesson: we fall down and after falling, we do something to get up. Getting up might mean changing position, asking a friend, or crawling over to the fence, but falling down doesn’t mean staying down. And it’s okay to ask for help.

During the summer, there are so many activities that kids are doing and chances are that they will experience some falls. Often, young children will play games simply for the fun of falling down. Ring around the rosie is not just a song, it’s an invitation to fall down over and over again. While it’s more fun with 2 or more people, kids will play all by themselves. Does your child like to twirl round and round and get so dizzy that s/he falls over?

Super Simple Learning has a great song for singing, playing outside, and falling down. It’s called We All Fall Down. Using the tune to Ring Around The Rosie, change the words for other actions:

Walk around the circle, walk around the circle.
Walking, walking, we all fall down.

Outside, where there’s lots of room and maybe some soft grass for landing, kids can hop around the circle, run, jump, tiptoe, crawl, twirl, swim, roll and more. After all that, or whenever they need to, the kids can sing:

I’m so tired, I’m so tired, I’ll just…sleep.

Of course, they fall down for that too.

What a fun play-of-the-day and what an important inspiration for all of us. Thank you, Madiba.