“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye- it is very beautiful.” ~Kailash Satyarthi
By Julia Gondova Medeiros
One day, I brought to my colleagues some of the traditional Slovak pastries that I had baked. This sparked a conversation between Chef Sean and me about different varieties of flour and the dough produced. He mentioned that he planned to introduce children to various kinds of dough. I thought about starting with yeast dough, which I used for my baking. Sean agreed that this type of dough would be exciting for them to mix and then see it rise.
For this activity, I invited children from the Oak room. They were all engaged in measuring, grinding, counting, and mixing ingredients. They were mesmerized by a stand-up mixer kneading the dough. We placed the mixture in a transparent container and marked a line where the initial size of the mix was. We watched it rise as we checked on it every thirty minutes.
After we finished, I felt that this was more of a teacher-directed activity. Children were following steps and mixing ingredients given from the recipe. As I am reflecting on it now, there was a special moment which made me wonder. The moment was when Coretta was cracking an egg. She held it gently and then tapped it onto the side of a bowl. Nothing happened. Correta looked at the egg. Was she surprised? I wondered, “What is she thinking and wondering about at this moment?” Calder watched her and said aloud, “You have to smash it, Coretta.” This moment reminded me of my childhood when I baked with my mom. I was also cracking an egg with caution. I did not know how much force I should use.
With a determined look on her face, Coretta tapped the egg onto the side of the bowl again. The eggshell cracked a little bit. The egg white began oozing from it. She moved the egg to another hand and tapped it onto the side of the bowl again. More egg white came out. She knew this was not all that the egg hid inside. Calder encouraged her once more saying, “Coretta, smash it with both of your hands.” I saw that she was problem-solving. She was focused and tried a couple of strategies. She pressed the eggshell with her fingers. There it was. The egg yolk poured out of the shell. Everyone at the table cheered. I wondered, “Did we just experience Coretta’s first egg cracking?”
This moment felt victorious. Coretta’s smile showed that she was proud of herself. This moment showed me how important it is to slow down. Also, it showed me how important it is to give children their space and time. Not rushing them in their process. In our busy lives, in every moment, there are lessons to be learned. Sometimes the moment could be as simple as cracking an egg.