There is this rule – the Goldilocks’ rule – which is intended to help emerging readers find the ‘just right’ book. A book that is neither too difficult nor too easy. A child is to select a book that looks interesting, open to a page somewhere in the middle and, as she reads, count on one hand how many words she does not know yet. If she has raise four or five fingers, she may save that book for later. If she has zero fingers or one finger raised she may choose to read that book on vacation. Two or three fingers probably indicates that she has found is the ‘just right’ book!
When it comes to arrange an environment that will foster a child’s independence, this ‘just right’ principle is a great guide for grown-ups. If a grown-up – in the spirit of fostering independence – asks a child to do something that she is not developmentally prepared to do the child may experience failure. If a grown-up – in the interest of protecting the child from failure – provides too much support the child may learn helplessness. Both may have an effect on a child’s willingness to take risks in the future.
However, given that children do not come with manuals, how is a grown-up to proceed? Well in short, grown-ups are entitled to a grace period during which they can assess (through trial-and-error) what a child can do on their own! After all Goldilocks tried both Mama & Papa Bear’s porridge before coming across Baby Bear’s! The key is to keep trying until the porridge tastes just right.
This clever little clothesline has potential to provide that ‘just right’ challenge for young children who are becoming ready to dress themselves!