One of the perks of being a Nanny is frequent outings to the Zoo.
At the entrance maps, in hand, we begin the exploration process of the Zoo as if there is something new around every corner. There usually is something new, our Zoo is always evolving.
The Zoo map is one of the worlds best teaching tools. It hold endless fascination for children of every age. Easy to read, with pictures of the animals next to the words, even a three year old can use it and begin to get the idea of what a map is and how useful it can be. I've been to the Zoo many times, and know my way around fairly well. I already know where the elephants are. I know where the food vendors are, and all the bathrooms. But for the children with me, the Zoo is yet a big mysterious place, and they love having a map to track the route and guide the way.
Last summer, our Zoo opened a new exhibit. I hadn't gotten the opportunity to see them, but they were surprisingly endlessly fascinating.
I wish I knew how to set the video's to music. Even my 3 year old companion was transfixed as we watched their synchronized movements. We must have been there for almost ten minutes watching them.
An eternity in three year old time.
Birds were not our most important destination, however.
I know that there is a big push these days not to tell children what to like. Teachers and parents should give kids an opportunity to express their own likes. Not all boys love trucks. Not all girls love dolls. It's a strange kind of campaign to me. I don't know any parents (or care-givers) that say, "Well, you can't like that because your a girl." or vice versa.
I have noticed as a nanny that many girls are as fascinated by predators and things with big sharp teeth as boys are, and I am no less willing to let them explore this fascination than I would be with boys.
And on the way to the Crocodile's, if I get to enjoy a little pink and the strange dancing of beautiful, fluffy, flamingos...I'm okay with that too.