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Learning ice skating

Last Friday, skating with our homeschooling friends at Openluchtmuseum I though how personally important themes return again and again. Scaffolding, community, learning from experts or novices…

It was the first time for my five years old to use hockey skates, graduating from a double runner skates she tried before. She tried to skate on the practice ring, along the fences, with supports and with me. Knowing how to skate from my childhood, I couldn’t help her much in figuring out how to do it, with all the tacit bodily knowledge that this version of “learning to ride a bicycle” involves. It was also difficult to find a position where I could provide enough support without pulling her in the wrong direction.

And then came two girls, just a couple of years older than Emily. They missed her at the big skating ring. They skated a bit together with her at the practice ring, but it wasn’t fun enough. So they convinced her to go to the “real one”. And it worked.

Two bigger girls taking a smaller one to the skating ring

Two small girls holding hands of the little girl could do what I wasn’t able to do. They, just by sharing the fun and holding her hands, gave her an experience of what skating is about, physically and emotionally, and they gave her the confidence she could do it. And then she could go further – skate together with others and try skating without supports. She could also skate with me without tension: her body knew something I couldn’t teach her.

And, a couple of links on the topic from long ago:

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