Moving and Care

Nicole Land thinking with Sanja Todorovic and Jajiba Chowdhury

Sanja proposed that we might think of moving as a way of working with an idea together, as we’ve been thinking with moving that happens with the side-by-side slides in the yard. I think this is really interesting and something to think with. Moving as grappling with an idea or concept or tension together; not as medium to resolve that tension or fully understand or learn a concept, but instead paying attention to how our movements become a way of thinking collectively about the complex relations we encounter in everyday moments. Moving as something complicated, not just physical or outcome-oriented. I am thinking, for example, of the ‘ideas’ that were present last week with the slide: care, negotiation, obstacles/interferences, proximity/closeness, energy/wildness, together and common/shared movements, and creating. These are complicated ideas, and often things that developmental theory might tell us are too complex for toddlers to think with, but through moving we do grapple together with these big, complex ideas. I think there are probably multiple other ideas we could pay attention to with the slide too. 

This makes me think: how do we notice and decide what ‘ideas’ are meaningful to move with together? How do we know what concepts or tensions we need to care for and spend time with in a place? How do we make choices to move together with some ideas and not with others? These questions of making decisions feel quite ethical to me – they aren’t just technical choices about how to move. They’re a lot more demanding and high stakes because they’re about which movements (and ideas) I notice or don’t, which movements (and ideas) I value as communicative or meaningful and which I don’t. 

This makes me think about moving and care: how can we think of moving as a way of working with care, or doing care, together? I think that this connects to our conversation last week about relationships and moving, and how moving is communicative; moving is part of friendships, of being in a group, and of being within a place. It isn’t just mechanistic or technical or developmental. In thinking moving as a language, and thinking how moving is a way of working with an idea together, I think we are getting toward the idea that there’s something care-full about moving – moving implicates us in something, it connects us to places. 

I’m thinking then, about what it might be to think about how we work with ‘care’ in moving. I’m thinking of something my some of my colleagues in BC, B. Denise Hodgins, Sherri-Lynn Yazbeck, and Kelsey Wapenaar (2019) have written in a chapter called “Enacting twenty-first century early childhood education: Curriculum as caring”. Hodgins, Yazbeck, and Wapenaar propose that curriculum-making requires a certain type of care that knows that we are implicated in messy, lively worlds and that our ways of caring have to be adequate to these complicated worlds. Here are two quotes from the chapter that I’m thinking with connected to moving as working with ideas and care:

 “consistent with our understanding of care as a doing that refuses taken-for-granted or ‘easy’ notions of care, our caring is an ongoing practice that resists the certainty allowed by bounded or romanticized conceptions of care as a straightforward, universalized act. For us, caring requires that we actively refuse to rest with conclusion, instead doing care as a constant attention to complexity, uncertainty, and situatedness” (p. 207) 

“with the children, educators, and families we work with, we have been thinking carefully about engagement with the places we tough: what we take out, what we move, what we leave, who and is here beyond us, and what our (in)actions mean for these places, our world. There are no tidy or finished answers. Ultimately, our inquiries have les us to think about what kind of citizens we, as educators, are producing. What kind of citizens are we hoping to produce…Putting care to work in the forest and in our gardens has particularly illuminated that as citizens, we are here with many others” (p. 219)

This makes me think: what happens if we think about moving and care together? How do we grapple with care in our moving? How are our ways of caring within moving connected to our pedagogical commitments and embededness in the world?  

I’d like to continue thinking about the idea of care as working with an idea (as a thread of thinking about care as communicating or as a language) together for a little while. I think that there are lots of “ideas” we move with, care being just one.

Hodgins, B. D., Yazbeck, S. L., & Wapenaar, K. (2019). Enacting twenty-first-century early childhood education: Curriculum as caring. In R. Langford (Ed.), Theorizing feminist ethics of care in early childhood practice: Possibilities and dangers (pp. 203 – 225). New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

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