Posted by Alythea
I am teaching a creative thinking course for three-year-old kids and I use a very laid back, inquisitive style when working with the children. We do the same three big activities every class:
We also explore several different types of materials (eg. wooden blocks, marbles, geometric shapes, animal figurines) and see how they might be combined. I have seen some incredible things during this unstructured play time.
The children are invited to share their thoughts along the way (which is not always easy for a three-year-old!) and we pay very close attention to the words that are spoken. We also make sure all the students are heard when they speak. We often repeat things to the entire class, and/or we wait for a student to come up with an idea before pursuing it.
After class, I put together a quick narrative (+pictures) in the form of a blog. The parents are welcome to share what their children have been saying over the course of the week and/or any mysteries they find.
The children LOVE this. I have run this with ‘challenging’ students and found they really relish having control over what they’re doing.
It is critical exploration and we should not shy away from this style to teach even the youngest kids.
Anyone else out there working with the youngest ones?
You should look what what is being done in Reggio Emilia in Italy. See ‘The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach Advance Reflections’ Ablex Publishing Corporation, and/or ‘Working in the Reggio Way: A beginners Guide for American Teachers’ Redleaf Press.