Jumping involves strength, balance, coordination, and motor planning. Most of us never think about this as we jump over a puddle or in one! Did you know there are developmental stages of jumping?! Seedlings’ kids make it look so easy. See a stump, climb up and jump off! See a rock climb up, jump off. With my eyes on them, I take delight in their choice to engage or not engage.
I am captivated by the spilt second complexity it takes for a child to engage in jumping from a rock or tree. Of the five children out in the woods today, four were ready to jump from a height, one was not ready, but she found an alternative she was proud of. Children can self-regulate and part of my job is to allow them to trust themselves. Generally, they choose the height they feel comfortable jumping from and will complete what they feel they are ready for. Mom or Dad yelling “be careful” will not help a child be cautious, it can actually make them question their own decision. That phrase is more for the parent. (Trust me, I did that as a parent too!)
There are important processes taking place physically and mentally when a child chooses to jump or in the case of these photos, fly! This is why I would never force a child to jump if they are not ready. They will come around in their own time. The ability to control oneself is an ongoing goal of Seedlings. Time in the woods encourages their inner voice of I can do that or I am just not ready. Each child flies in their own way and I respect that.