Sunday, November 4, 2012

Perspective: a KEY in guiding our children

Happy November from Enrique!

When Galileo figured out that earth was not at the center of our universe, it was a shift in perspective that led him to that discovery.  When we think about many of the important discoveries in our world, perspective is an important part of that journey.  When we observe children, if we can observe them with a child-like sense of wonder, we can use questions to frame what they are either already doing and/or guide them in new discoveries of their own.  BUT FIRST... we need to remember how to play, learn, and live like children ourselves.  Enjoy this first video of adult early childhood educators modeling exactly that as they shift their perspective related to becoming curves with their bodies.

This second video is an example of adult learners taking the lines and curves they've been making and becoming academic vocabulary such as:
  • Rotate
  • Expand
  • Intersect
  • Contract
  • and more!
Think "Using play and our bodies to connect to academic learning (Common Core English Language, STEM) and social-emotional growth simultaneously!

The previous videos and the following images of adult educators becoming lines, curves and shapes with their bodies is a form of developmentally appropriate and play-based engineering games for preschool and kinder-age children.  This Arts Integration strategy that has been used with thousands of young children.  

What do you see in these images?  Curves, Lines, Shapes?  How many things can we make with our body.  The Art of Embodiment; creating that which we are learning about with our body.

In addition to the shapes, educators at the 2012 Evolved Learning Retreat worked in small breakout groups and began to add engineering vocabulary to their shapes.  Can you imagine how they might have been moving? 

Perhaps some were rotating?  Others elongating?  Some expanding?  So many options and so many potential answers and the use of both linear and abstract thought, all in a play-based approach!

From 2001 - 2004, the F.A.M.E. Foundation conducted research by observing young children.  The results were incredible.  If you want to see those results, you can find them in the book "Living Like a Child."

What emotion(s) would be associated with the images of these adults as they were "playing with purpose?"  Why is it important for adults to reach inside and connect with their inner child?

This strategy and others have been researched and elevate children's ability to:

  • Think Critically

and simultaneously
  • Be Creative

Critical Thinking and Creativity can and must CO-EXIST!

Another way of saying this is:

Rigor and Joy can and must CO-EXIST!

This Arts Integration strategy is very simple and very flexible.  Make it your own!  One way of approaching it is as follows:

1. Over time introduce the idea of "Embodiment" to children.  Become straight lines and curved lines with your bodies.  They already love to use their bodies.  All we need to do is guide with questions and/or suggestions.  Have them become lines and curves individually at first.  Once a sense of safety and community has been built, have them make lines and and curves in small groups of 2 and/or 3.

Note: Is this risky?  Yes, but risk in appropriate ways leads to meaningful learning.  The risk is that children will become so excited that their energy may be unleashed in uncontrolled ways!  Try using the following statement when that happens... "Hold Your Energy!"  This is something I learned from International Mime Artist Rick Wamer.  It's very different from saying "Stop."  Also, saying those words in a "commanding or controlling" voice, doesn't work very well.  Use a playful voice and children play along.  I've used this all over the country and in Latin America for the last decade and it's amazing how well it works.

2. Once children's knowledge of becoming lines and curves is grounded, have them become shapes and/or object they know and recognize (Squares, Circles, etc.).

3. Introduce vocabulary by having them become those words (rotate, invert, expand, etc.).  This may seem like a stretch, but if you have them become the word and/or model it for them, they pick it up very quickly and love it.  We don't want our children to have our vocabulary.  We want them to have a vocabulary that surpasses ours!

You can take this to many other places, but this is a great first step in the direction of connecting children's learning to PERSPECTIVE!  It also addresses many other academic areas of learning and when they're working in groups, social-emotional development.



  1. thanks for sharing.

  2. My pleasure! This particular strategy is one of many in this area. Children love it and they really get a kick out of seeing adults interact with them. Enjoy.


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