Posted on November 11th, 2014




According to comedian, Jim Gaffigan, bacon is SO good you can wrap it around other foods (like brussels sprouts or kale) to make THEM taste better.

At the Dekko Foundation, we think knowledge of child/youth development is a little bit like bacon.  Knowing how children and young people develop is good on its own.   But when you wrap that know-how around early childhood education, a  classroom or a youth group those experiences get better too!  Here’s how:

  • At some early childhood programs, adults bundle children up into coats, hats, mittens and boots for a trip to the playground.  But early childhood education programs that think about  what very young children need to grow and thrive…well, they allow plenty of time for children to dress themselves!  Getting dressed is as much a part of the learning experience as playing outside.
  • Some schools and classroom leaders think each child needs a computer at his/her fingertips.  Schools that think about what children need to grow and thrive believe that waiting for computer access once in a while builds planning skills and self-regulation.  Hmmm.  Those are good things!
  • It’s tempting for adults who advise teen groups to prepare the agenda, write the minutes and plan the food–otherwise it’s left to the kids and the last minute.  But adults who think about what teens need to mature know that natural consequences (no agenda or no snacks) are some really great teachers!  And who ever died from lack-of-agenda???

If you want to know more about our beliefs on what children and young people need to thrive, visit our website and click through our pages on what children need.  We think you’ll find it to be some sizzling-good information!


47 responses to “Mmmmmm…bacon!”

  1. Acline says:

    Yes, learning to be independent at a young age is great. No learned helplessness when older;)

    • Sharon Smith says:

      We all want to be responsible and productive…that’s what builds our self-esteem and confidence! Yet our actions sometimes hold children and other loved ones back.

  2. Brooke Hastings says:

    First of all, I am not a fan of bacon, but I understand your analogy! Secondly, as Chick Moorman says, “Opportunity = Responsibility”. I was an early childhood educator before I became a parent, and understood the importance of allowing children to try for themselves and providing that opportunity. I would see families hurry along their child to get their coats and shoes on at the end of the day or do it for them, and it was disheartening to see the child’s independence squashed. I vowed I would never be that parent…never say never. Sometimes we get so rushed in life and routine and although I am not perfect, and have rushed my child or just done it for her to get out the door, I try my best to not do so. Especially now that she is 2 1/2 and she is a big girl now and says “I’ll do it”, I have to step back and allow that opportunity so she may be taught/experience responsibility. And even though she cannot reach the coat hook, I ask her if I can hang it up for her instead of just doing it.

    • Sharon Smith says:

      No one’s perfect…and if you know about how children grow and develop you’ll get it right more often than not!

  3. Laura says:

    Absolutely true! Self-efficacy comes from knowing you can do what you set your mind to and you are the one to make it happen.

  4. Erica says:

    As a Kindergarten teacher I couldn’t agree more! Especially with the first two points. It’s so easy to do just do things for kids that they need to learn to do for themselves. Sometimes when they give it a try they are surprised at what they can do on their own! 🙂

  5. Kevin says:

    I enjoyed item 3 the most. Often times those life lessons yield better results than anything we as parents can say to our children.

  6. Candace says:

    Great analogy! This is so true!!!

  7. John Walsh says:

    Steven Covey talks about the Law of the Harvest. You reap what you sow. Also, it takes time – you cannot rush mother nature.

    • Sharon Smith says:

      Have you ever read Dr. Covey’s story about growing kids v. growing grass? It’s another classic about investing in young people.

  8. Tonya says:

    So happy this blog took me back to the website that discusses what young children need and how adults can help them to thrive! THANKS!

  9. Dennis says:

    I would equate it to having high expectations. I remember the first time we tried to get the primary teachers to allow students make up their own analogies. Most thought the students would not be capable of doing itand then were surprised with the quality of the student responses.

  10. Trisha says:

    Watching my youngest struggle to pull away from technology is disheartening. Teaching children that there’s a life beyond a screen is a challenge now for parents.

  11. Julie Neas says:

    Letting go is hard for us adults. I know that some of the biggest wins for the kids I work with directly have come when I have done just that. They can’t shine when we are over them casting a big shadow!

  12. Hope says:

    Sounds like you are preaching to the choir here. But a little reminder helps. As adults we do often “just do it” and don’t stop to let the young lead out. Every time I have paused and let the children be lead, I have been amazed at their creativity and capability. So thanks for the reminder–I’ll try to do better!

  13. Heather Noyes says:

    This was a great article! Its sometimes difficult to just “watch” but in the end it all works out!

  14. Kim Perez says:

    Love the last one about agendas. I teach at Dekalb New Tech and we are always trying to get our freshmen to lead, but guess who writes the agenda every morning?? Duh! Tomorrow is the perfect chance to let them set the agenda and go get it done!!

  15. Karla says:

    They actually do much better than we do.

  16. Nancy says:

    It is hard to not step in and do something for your child to “preserve” his/her self-esteem, but I agree that natural consequences are the best consequences.

  17. Carly says:

    I love the concept of letting the little ones do things on their own. This even begins before school age, but should continue throughout school. This is something that teachers and students need to be on the “same page” about, and communicate about regularly. Great ideas!

  18. Toni says:

    I love to do independent activities with my students. I always strive for them to do things without me…makes my job better and their lives richer!

  19. Shirley says:

    As a pork producer, I love bacon!! Planning skills, self-regulation, natural consequences……adults stepping back and considering what children need to grow and develop! You always keep us on our toes and thinking.

  20. Laura says:

    I got a great idea from the Dekko Foundation blog post about letting little ones peel their own hard-boiled egg. My two-year-old loves this activity and goes about it with a lot of concentration. She loves the snack at the end! Thanks for sharing great ideas on your blog and in your “Owners Manual” about letting kids learn by doing. It has changed the way I think as a parent… and as a youth development professional.

    • Sharon Smith says:

      We are glad to hear that we gave you an idea. The concentration is what it’s all about…being engaged in what you’re doing to the point that you see or hear nothing else. That’s engagement in learning!

  21. Nate Manahan says:

    You can never go wrong using bacon as an metaphor! Good article!

  22. John Davis says:

    I think when we try to make all kids think the same we inhibit their creativity. Children are different and so are food groups and all have their unique personalities and taste.

  23. Ashley Rice says:

    I love the collaborative “great things happen” video; I had never watched or known about that until now. It sends a really inspiring message. Something I always say children need the most is for “grown-ups” to take the time to listen…listen to everything they are saying, listen to their body language, listen to non-verbal facial expressions, listen and understand what they are saying or in some cases crying about….Just Listen.

  24. Katie says:

    Such a good reminder! I just talked with a parent at a conference about helping their child to be responsible for picking up after themselves and being more independent!

  25. Sandy says:

    We are getting ready to re-purpose our space and our children’s area is one that I really want make interactive and a fun learning environment. I didn’t even know this blog existed!

  26. Jeremy Rounds says:

    I love bacon and so does one of my daughters. She did a school science project on smell and taste and bacon won with most of the people who taste tested.

  27. Blaine says:

    Releasing control is tough in the testing environment our students and teachers are currently working in.

  28. Wendy says:

    So true! It is necessary for students to be independent learners. It is so easy to say that they cannot do it, but yes they can!

    • Sharon Smith says:

      Hi Wendy! Haven’t seen you in a while. You seem like someone who would have VERY high expectations for students. YEAH!

  29. So true, and often overlooked these days. Sometimes it is quicker and easier to do everything for our children and young students that we forget how much they will benefit if we take the extra few minutes to allow them to learn and succeed on their own. Learning the little things, like dressing themselves for going outdoors, will teach them how to be successful as they attempt more difficult challenges! Great post!

  30. Joy Connell says:

    This is excellent food for thought (pun intended). I struggled with having students in a group I advised last year focusing and planning without me constantly setting the agenda. Maybe allowing them to fail (or accomplish nothing) would have been beneficial.

    • Sharon Smith says:

      Ha ha Joy! Extra points for the food-related pun! We always talk about allowing natural consequences AND a soft landing for teens as they learn their way in the world! Your kids are lucky to have such a caring adult.

  31. Stacy says:

    As I did daycare for several years I can see how you just do what’s needed instead of having the child do it as it saves you time and easier to do that for them. However then the child doesn’t learn, we need to show them then let them do it so they can become better and independent.

  32. Dave Beck says:

    Some of the best learned lessons for all of us, including teens,are the harder ones. When the bear ate our food one night at the Philmont Scout Ranch because we teen age Boy Scouts didn’t think we needed to hang it in a tree as the guide trained us to do, you can bet it was the only night we didn’t follow those instructions. Not only a lesson, but it gave us a story to tell.

  33. Lena Yarian says:

    They say the greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *