Athena has been working very hard on mastering a new skill: buckling. She doesn't have the grip strength to unfasten the buckles yet, but with concentration and some serious dexterity development, she can buckle both sides of her high chair. Buckling, over and over again, is one of her favorite activities right now. She will do it, uninterrupted, for half an hour at a time, several times a day.
I have loved watching her learning process with this task. Once she mastered buckling one side (with huge proud smiles and jubilant kicking), she tried to apply the identical technique (without mirroring it) to the other side and discovered she needed to adjust her approach in order to succeed. For awhile she preferred to just buckle the right side, since she had aced it, and tended to either ignore the left side or get frustrated after a few attempts and fling the straps away. She persisted and practiced and now she can and does buckle both sides, repeatedly, with more and more fluidity each time.
This term I'm in an online-only (eep!) course called Young Child as Scientist, based on the constructivist theory that children are naturally theory-builders who formulate questions and conduct experiments to test their hypotheses. I very clearly see this methodology at play in Athena's work to solve the "how do I make the buckles fit together" problem.
In related news, grad school continues to totally rock.