When I see the word path, I visualize a worn trail leading into a forest. A path is a way, a road to follow, but not a well-traveled or paved road. PATHS (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies) is a curriculum providing lessons to scaffold children’s social and emotional competence. Now, when I see this word, I visualize a metaphor for promoting our own alternative thinking strategies. Too often, our thinking is rigid, one way and unyielding. Alternative thinking strategies involve perspective taking, recognizing our own biases and experiences that can limit openness to new ideas and ways. Fear of the less familiar path often leads us to the well-worn trail. It can feel too risky to create a new path. What if I get lost or trip and fall along the way? Each new path is a discovery and learning experience. All learning means taking risks. Be brave, take less traveled road, and be open to where new paths may lead.
In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday. Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education. She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.