It's Enrique here and thanks for stopping by to check out my blog. I have the most wonderful relationships with so many great preschool and kinder classrooms. I'm so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many lovely teachers, children and parents and the thanks they show fuels in such an authentic way!
If you're been reading my blogs, you'll notice that I have been spending a lot of time with the Sunnyside Head Start preschool classrooms. It's a truly magical place, as are many of the centers in Tucson, Arizona.
Welcome to one of those classrooms...
THE SUNSHINE CLASSROOM!
As you can read below, back during the 2005 - 2006 school year, the children of this room chose their inspiration, their interest, there POV, if you will. Their perspective and how they saw things is what the teachers so cleverly allowed to be the motivational aspect for the entire year. The children chose...
One of the really exciting things about this approach is that the:
- TEACHERS ENGAGED THE CHILDREN using QUESTIONS.
- TEACHERS VALIDATED ALL THE CHILD RESPONSES.
- TEACHERS POSTED THE CHILD RESPONSES.
This approach says to the child, "your ideas matter." When we feel we matter, we all bring such wonderful energy to whatever situation we are involved with. Below you can read some of those responses. Enjoy!!!
Additionally, teachers engaged the children with the opportunity to
"represent what they knew about the sun" in artistic ways.
The children's knowledge of the sun grew over time from their prior knowledge and then building on that through discovery and dialogue. Below is one example of a child's perspective on:
- WHAT THE SUN LOOKS LIKE
- WHAT THE SUN FEELS LIKE
- WHAT THE SUN DOES
- HOW THE SUN MAKES THEM FEEL
Enjoy this lovely piece of process-based Art!
What could YOU do with YOUR CHILDREN? Perhaps you could try some of the following ideas which all build on critical thinking skills in loving ways by engaging the interest of the children.
- TAKE THE CHILDREN OUTSIDE AND ASK THEM WHAT THEY SEE?
- ASK THE CHILDREN WHY CERTAIN THINGS GROW?
- ASK WHAT DO PLANTS NEED TO GROW?
Once you discover the interest of a group of children or an individual child, expand on that interest by:
- ASKING THE CHILD WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT THEIR INTEREST
- ASK CHILDREN AND PARENTS TO SHARE WHAT THEY KNOW WITH EACH OTHER
- AFTER CHILDREN HAVE SHARED WITH PARENTS, REVISIT WHAT THEY KNOW
- FIND WAYS FOR CHILDREN TO REPRESENT WHAT THEY KNOW WITH ART
If you wanted to, you would carry a like this on over a period of time, which can lead to very meaningful learning. This also builds community by creating a sense of "who the class is." Here is a photo of the garden at Sunnyside Head Start. What a fantastic place for discovery to begin and continue!
I hope you've enjoyed this quick blog and that it's inspired you to look around at all you see and look for opportunities to connect your young ones to learning in ways which interest them deeply. When you see a young child entranced with something, remember that you have found their "magnet!" Once you've found this connection, it's up to all of us to find ways to use that in numerous ways to make learning a joyful experience! TEACH and GUIDE ON!!!
Many of these concepts and techniques can be found in my book "Living Like a Child."