One of the best opportunities to help kids learn about the world is by fostering their dreams for the future. When a child is inspired enough to declare, “I want to be a firefighter when I grow up!,” it’s a way for him/her to role-play through imagination. Their dream career may change weekly (or daily!), but by trying on many different hats, they get to practice what it could be like to contribute to the world from many different angles.
It also opens up the path to have fun with learning. Sparked by their own interest in a subject, children can get enthusiastic about checking out related books from the library, artistically expressing their visions through drawing, and meeting others in the community who already work those jobs.
When we listen in encouragement to their dreams, we give them the chance to value their own potential. And as parents, caregivers and teachers, we get the chance to better understand their views of the world and how they see their roles in it. No matter how impractical it may seem, when a child says, “I’m going to be a mermaid!,” it gives us a precious opportunity to let them expand their imaginations in a way that’s only possible in childhood.
So the next time you hear a child declare they are going to be an astronaut rock star, celebrate their passion…because almost anything’s possible!