Topics in Early Childhood Education

Monday, January 03, 2011

Making Music

During the holidays, I had the opportunity to be in California with all six of my grandchildren. After a rousing Wii music game, three of my granddaughters picked up the ukulele and some costumes, then proceeded to serenade the rest of us. One of the adults present called out, "That sounds just awful." Maybe it did, but the effort impressed me. Here were three girls who were not afraid to take a chance and exhibited great planning strategies. We know how critical it is to teach children thinking skills and to take a chance. Sir Ken Robinson, an expert on creativity, says, "If they don't know, they will have a go." Children are natural risk takers, but adults often shut down their comfort level for taking risks. This has great impact on thinking skills and creativity. To encourage taking risks and developing thinking skills, adults should:

1. Allow the "awful music," realizing that the process the child developed is what should be encouraged, not shut down. Don't worry about the product.

2. Look for toys and materials that need a process of development. Instead of a coloring book (no thinking there), provide construction paper, scissors and glue (endless process). The end product doesn't really matter.

3. Encourage an atmosphere of taking risks. Recently, a child I know filled the sink with water and started floating her shoe in the water. I applaud her mother who did not get upset and yell, "What are you doing?" She simply asked calmly, "So, what are you doing with your shoe." Her daughter said, "Seeing if my shoe can float." "What did you find out?" asked her mom. After a great discussion they cleaned the mess and dried the shoe.

4. Do projects together. Routinely do projects with the child and allow him to suggest many of the procedures. Even if you know it may not 'work.' Trial and error is great for thinking. A wonderful resource book for doing projects is, "The Complete Book of Activities, Games, Stories, etc." by Pam Schiller and Jackie Silberg.

My granddaughters can serenade me anytime. It was music to my ears as I was thrilled they created a band. The right notes can come later!



At 4:48 PM, Blogger Jentry said...

I enjoyed this story of your grandchildren and thought the idea behind it is an important one to remember. Rather than discouraging kids to try new things we should all remember how important it is to encourage kids to try new things and be creative. Rather than encouraging them to be like everyone else and do something exactly right its great for them to do things their way and experiment with what it interesting to them at that time in their life.
-Jentry H. 5170

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Kate and Brooks said...

I am so glad to have read this post. Many people tell me I'm too lenient with children, I don't agree though. I feel that I allow their creativity to blossom. I often feel like I'm the only one doing this so it's reassuring knowing I'm not the only one. What wonderful stories you've shared!
-Katelyn A. 5170

At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this story about your grandchildren, and completely agree with you that the thinking process is essential for a childs development. I feel it is extremely important to encourage children to try new things and explore their ideas in all possible ways, even if that means getting a little messy. I work with 2 and 3 year olds and love to see their creativity run free in the activities we do together, and encourage them to explore their ideas in whatever way interest them. I am so happy to have read this post.
-Agatha M. 5170

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Mindy said...

I love it when kids take risks and just do what they want. It is sad to see adults shut them down. What a great opportunity for kids to be able to explore I think it is so important to support them and let them experience the different outcomes to their thinking.

Mindy B. FCS5170

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

As I read this post concerning grandchildren and their interests I remember my past teaching experinece.In teaching impaired learners I have found that my own learning modalities are akin to theirs. For example, in teaching the visually impaired, other skills such as hearing are refined. In choosing to learn from our young ones we have seen the "light bulb" ourselves.

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At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Joshua's Law said...

This was a really insightful and interesting perspective to read, providing a more clear picture of creative child education

At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading the story about your grandchildren. Children love doing stuff like this and we should tell them they did a great jod not had bad it sounded.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you pointed out that it is the process that matters rather than the result and we should applaud children's effort and courage because yes, many adults are too restricted and unfortunately have the bad habit of spreading that mentality to children (which we can only pray doesn't catch on!).

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your story about your grandchildren. Many times we as parents shut down our children's creativity because we do not see an end product. In reality the end product is the child's ability to think logically and and test out their hypothesis or logic of the world around them.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Creative Juices said...

I appreciate your perspective. You put yourself in the shoes of other people (example: effort of your grand-daughters to make music) which I think makes you more considerate than a lot of other people. Not many people have that ability, but every teacher should. I'll never forget being yelled at in elementary school. I didn't raise my hand in a class again until college.
Jessica F. 5170

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Deb said...

I love hearing this and am always happy to read about examples of kids being allowed to explore and discover their own passion -- this is the path to true learning and motivation.

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