At age three, my son walked out of pre-school carrying a drawing of his “house.” At that time, we lived in an apartment building in Chicago, and I didn’t think much about the drawing at first. When we arrived home, however, I stood on the front walk for a moment, looking from the drawing to the building and back. Stunned, I realized that my young son, from memory, had drawn an eerily well-proportioned five-bay building, with center courtyard (in birds-eye view as seen from our apartment), and had then pasted triangle “gables roofs” on each side. It is a child’s drawing, without a doubt, so there are major simplifications and extra flourishes, but the representation is clear (at least to his mom!).
Children take notice of their environments to a larger degree than even their parents might expect. Knowing this, we should work to ensure that their worlds are filled with beauty, and wonder, and unexpected curiosities. With just a little extra thought, and a touch of hand-craft, the places that we build for our children can be exceptional. When our children see that the buildings created for them are extraordinary, they take notice; and these tiny humans begin to understand that they, too, are extraordinary.