It says it right there in the Ogalala System in Play information materials: “If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn,” which basically means that children learn through play and we should make learning a fun and playful process for them.
However, it also means that children will learn when they want to learn, and even when you expressly came to attend a workshop that they can participate in, they won’t necessarily cooperate and sit down placidly when the workshop actually starts. Such was our Ogalala Child Development Workshop adventure at the Megamall Toy Kingdom last week. Wheee!
Oh, they were cooperative and amused enough to sit down and color when we first arrived, and they spent some time coloring while we were waiting for the event to start.
Ang high-tech na pala ng mga crayons ngayon!
By the time the event actually started, however, neither of the twins could keep still. Forget about actually sitting on the designated seats. Dahon kept fidgeting and wandering around and so had to be taken away, whereupon Ulap started calling out “Daaaa, Daaaa, Daaaaaaaa!” nonstop. So Mama, Don, and I were alternating holding the twins while I hovered on the edges of the workshop trying to listen to the talks. The other kids in the toddler class seemed able to behave, though, and were even able to participate in the activities. But oh, yeah, I’m not supposed to compare 😀 And actually, the workshop was more for us parents anyway.
Children are curious, the speaker said, so it’s just natural if they want to explore the entire Toy Kingdom. I think this is something that parents really need to understand, and make their children’s grandparents and nannies understand. Hindi masamang maging malikot. Hindi pagiging salbahe ang pagiging malikot. Bata yan, trabaho niya maging malikot. Our job is to provide a safe and stimulating environment where they can explore and learn. Of course, that’s not possible all the time, and I admit that sometimes I still get upset and snap at the twins when they try to mess with the electric fan or something.
Another important principle I got from the workshop—and this is actually the only note that I managed to take down on my phone—is “if you put pressure on your children, they will shy away from you.” So relax lang! Give them the opportunities to play and learn, but let them learn at their own pace!
It is in this aspect—giving children the opportunities to play and learn—where the Ogalala System in Play can make things easier for parents. Have you ever entered a huge toy store, paused, and blinked a little because you have no idea what to get for a kid? I know I have. Based on the usual development milestones expected at each age, the Ogalala system serves as a handy guide in selecting toys that can support children in their development, and even provides a daily schedule that one can follow to ensure that all areas of development (physical, social and emotional, language, and intellectual) are being paid attention to.
At first I found the idea of having a daily schedule a bit much, but I realized that it also makes sense especially for parents who go to work and need to leave instructions to their children’s caregivers. And it’s not like the schedules cover every minute of every day anyway, and you can draw up your own schedule as you wish. The rest of the time, well, I guess we’ll let the kids play at will! Preferably outside, with nature, although unfortunately we don’t really get to do much of that right now.
Ogalala’s selection of toys and other children’s items include well-respected brands like Melissa and Doug, Baby Einstein, Crayola, Haba, Animal Planet, and Pigeon. Definitely nothing to sneeze at, and oh, I’m currently loving the Pigeon freebies we got, especially the lotion. These brands can be a bit pricey, though, so Tipid Toys will definitely still be a big part of our arsenal, but right now I’ve also got my eye on Melissa and Doug puzzles, blocks, and train sets.
Hey look, there are also tipid toy ideas in the Ogalala catalogue!
Oh, and one thing more that I like in the Ogalala toys, especially the wooden toys: they’re gender-neutral. I’ve always found highly gender-stereotyped toys (e.g., pink frou-frou for girls and blue trucks or building sets for boys) a bit off-putting and I’m glad that the Ogalala catalogue doesn’t seem to contain explosions of pink.
Ogalala toddler toys
Ogalala classifies “toddlers” as 12-24 months, then the 2-5 year-olds are classed in “preschoolers.” WHAT, I only have less than 5 months to call my twins toddlers??? NOOOOOO! They’re babies, babies, I tell you!
Whew. Anyway. Sign up at the Ogalala website if you’re interested in attending future child development workshops. Sessions are scheduled up to October for infants (0-12 months), toddler (12-24 months), and preschool (2-5 years old).