Tag Archives: child care

Kids and their Questions!


So I’m attending the VAEYC conference once again, and our keynote was about the power of questions.  Dr. Lindsey Godwin from the Appreciative Inquiry Center, an internationally renowned speaker and author, shared her work and perspective on questions.

Did you ever notice that we, as adults, often get annoyed by kids asking us questions?  We are busy, and it takes time and energy to stop and explain things, and quite honestly, why is it important to answer a “silly” question that isn’t important to us?  

Well, it’s valuable to respond so to encourage more questions.  Why on earth would we want to do that?  To cultivate creative thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and open minds!  Dr. Godwin states, “As children, we get messages from adults that they want answers, not questions.”  And she’s right, we are always asking kids to tell us things, when we should really invite them to find their own answers by asking more questions.  

Dr. Godwin has two lessons for us to take back to our classrooms:

1. Inquiry is intervention. Inquiry leads to change.  Our questions set the stage for what we find, they determine what we pay attention to, and ultimately the direction of what comes next, whether it is curriculum plans and activities, or your next fundraiser or parent meeting.  Inquiry has the power to inform and shape opportunities for all of us.


2. What we ask about “grows”.  If you ask a question based on a deficit, that will be the focus.  Instead, shift focus from your biggest challenge to your most unique assets to  “magnify and learn from moments of highest engagement and enthusiasm.”  

This is how we accelerate the positive changes that we need to grow and learn, and ultimately how we grow the curious minds of the youngest members of our communities.  

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Process Art versus Product Art

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While attending our annual statewide conference, I participated in a workshop about the value of process focused art experiences for young children. The instructor invited us into a conference room with a wide variety of art materials scattered on the table top: ribbon, glue, string, wood pieces, scissors, varied papers, and stickers.

In her introduction, she offered us each an index card and a color reproduction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. She asked us to draw it on our index cards. While we were drawing, she reminded us to make it look as much like it as possible, and to finish up in five minutes. There was a lot of chatter and giggles, even a little bit of whining. Then she asked us to write down how the assignment made us feel, upon request and as we worked.

The overall theme was stressed, pressured, inadequate, and a sense of an unrealistic expectation. We discussed this for quite some time, and then transitioned to another activity.

Eventually it was time for another task, and this time the assignment was less focused: “It’s time to use the materials on the table. Feel free to open closed packages, use materials in any way you’d like, take your time.” Some participants reached for materials that they had been eyeing since we first arrived, while others explored first. The room was very quiet, and slowly, some conversations arose, though they were low key and focused.

When the instructor saw that we were all finishing up, she asked us how we were doing and if we needed more time. After a few more minutes, she opened the floor up for discussion. How did this assignment feel, upon request and while working?

The responses from participants included: relaxed, peaceful, excited, happy, fun, trusted, respected, and lucky. So what does this all mean?

There is a wonderful handout from our instructor Laurel Bongiorno of Champlain College that highlights the main differences between product and process focused art:

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There is a place and time for both types of art, but we must be clear about our objective. For example, is the goal to teach the children how to follow directions, use new vocabulary, or practice using scissors? Is the objective self-expression? Or maybe is it for the purpose of sensory input? We must be thoughtful as to our objectives, and keep in mind how those objectives make children feel. Feeling rushed, pressured, and frustrated is never my goal.

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