Topics in Early Childhood Education

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Taking Risks

I recently heard a recorded speech by Sir Ken Robinson about creativity. He told a story of a teacher who was asking one of her students what she was drawing. The student replied, "I'm drawing God." The teacher responded, "Well, no one really knows what God looks like." To which the girl said, "They will in a minute." In the creativity course I teach, we learn that true creativiy comes when a person is willing to take risks. In other words, they need to be in a non-threathening enviornment that allows mistakes. Sir Robinson believes schools teach kids OUT of creativity. I agree. Unless we can allow children to make mistakes and take risks, there is no increase in thinking, development of talents, or evidence of creativity.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Look at the Princess!

We just finished tending three of my grandchildren for a week at their home in California. We had a blast. Except for one case of strep throat, it was a delightful week and I look forward to doing it again soon. One of the highlights of the trip was my two-year old granddaughter's entrance down their living room staircase. She would go up to her bedroom and dress in one of their princess dresses, then call to us from the top of the stairs so we could watch her descend as a princess. Whenever I would say, "Look at the Princess," she would exclaim, "No. It's Audrey!" It reminded me of how honest and straight-forward young children are in daily life. It is this honesty we need to use to explain the world around them. This is important for early childhood educators to remember. We should be teaching young children using real-life, tangible materials, not abstract paper and pencil tasks. There is no comparison between counting real items, such as blocks, and counting items on a paper. It is the difference between real-life and pretend.