The girls really wanted to go and I heard some good reports about this circus so I bought the tickets and off we went.
I am of the opinion that its better for a child to decide for themselves wether something is ok or not through experience and their own critical thinking. So without saying to much about what I think we went along to enjoy the show.
R could not remember her first visit to a circus and K had never been so it was a new experience for them both and they were very excited.
The show did not disappoint. trapeze artists, clowns,stilt walking, motorcycle stunts and of course animals.
This time the animals looked quite well cared for and respected. The girls enjoyed watching the show and discussed excitedly between themselves as they took everything in.
Straight away K went to the book shelf and took out her picture book about the circus and R sat straight down at her desk and started writing.
Half an hour later, dinner is ready and I call the girls to come and eat. R doesnt come immediately, she just has to finish writing and K appears at the table, circus book in hand ready to tell me in great detail everything she had seen, refering to the pictures in her book and trying to spell out some of the simple words.
R finally appears with a three page essay about her experience at the circus including her opinion on the use of animals in the show and what changes she would like to see.
So visiting the circus was a great experience for us all and is a good example of how everyday life experience can be educational. I realise that not all kids are going to go home and write an essay! This is just the way that R processes the information. But learning does happen all the time and everyday experiences often do lead on to further questions or activities. Also allowing our kids to form their own opinions without being biased by our own is important. It allows for critical thinking and helps them to understand their own feelings before hearing other peoples ideas. Our opinions are not fixed, they grow with us but having the chance to see things clearly from the very beginning is an opportunity we owe our kids.