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Children Make the Village

A different way to look at things.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” This quote may find some readers rolling their eyes and skipping it entirely.  Let’s pause a moment and peruse a different version of this thought. Using  philosophies of early childhood that consider a young child to be the future adult, the statement should read “it takes a child to create a village.”

Children add a lot to their individual environments. Starting in the home, a child changes the focus from the parents’ needs and wants, to sacrificing themselves for the needs of children. Schools are one place a child begins to discover communities outside of the home.  Development of a child occurs quickly and brings to the table a whole other aspect to life. Social media offers up platforms to share the joyous and admittedly, the sometimes not so joyous moments that come from these little humans. From the memes of “why my toddler is losing their marbles” to the countless videos of babies laughing from their souls, it is hard to imagine society without these tiny humans. Children are the soul of a community, the compass used to create the heartbeat of culture, and the future of the world. Think about that for just a moment, even if you are not a parent yourself. A world without Disney, Sesame Street, or even Legos? It would be so completely cold and cheerless, (even if, quieter and a lot less painful).

Around the Grand Junction area there are several child friendly options to help families experience the beautiful nature, the community culture of art, restaurants, and museums, including a seasonal climate to help cultivate active children. Hands-on, sensorial activities do so much more for our children than hours in front of the screens. But a lot may wonder where to even begin to use the community to help in this quest of raising amazing humans who will change the world for the better. The following tips may prove useful to parents today.

From archeological digs offered through the Museum of Western Colorado, including educational tours at the Dinosaur Journey Museum, a child’s imagination combined with their pure love of dinosaurs, these experiences are some they'll never forget.  Or how about a trip to the Botanical Gardens to learn about local flora, or perhaps out to Palisade for a close up with a furry animal at Suncrest Orchard Alpacas? Giving a child an opportunity to pick their own fruit or checking out the Colorado National Monument Center where they could become a junior park ranger may just be the ticket for fascinating learning.  If this all sounds like way too much, how about just a walk through the downtown area of Fruita, Grand Junction or Palisade to give a child the chance to check out the Art on the Corner and other history on display.

Giving children these experiences changes their outlook from being centered upon themselves to being aware of and engaged with the community around them. Children are not selfish beings by nature and early in life is the time to let them do their work and create a village where the soul and heartbeat matter.  After all, at the end of the day there is nothing better than a sweet sticky hug from a contented child.

Rebecca Despain received her MA in Education from Ashford University, MACTE (Montessori Certified Teacher) and is a licensed public school Kindergarten teacher in New Mexico.