The other day I stepped away to help the three year old move something and this is what I saw when I turned around.
The one year old had decided that today was going to be the day that he conquered the stairs. No longer was he going to wait for me to pick him up and carry him upstairs. What if something exciting was happening up there and he missed it because I didn't realize that it was absolutely necessary to go up?
He was a good 4 stairs up and it was my first instinct to pick him up. But I stopped and grabbed my camera instead. This was not something to stop. This was a moment in which he had decided that he was going to go for it. And shouldn't I respect that determination? The little one didn't stop to think "why not?", he tried something new not knowing what would happen.
To me this is one of the most basic principles for learning. The ability to think, "why not?" and to try the impossible. After all, every thing is at some point an unknown possibility. Our children don't start school knowing how to read or do many things. What they do know is how to play and how to use that play to conquer the impossible.
It is our role as adults to encourage that very play that is so endangered in many of our schools. For it is this play that will open their minds to the "why not?".