Offer Fear a Place to Sit…and Let Creativity Come Out and Play!

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Offer Fear a Place to Sit…and Let Creativity Come Out and Play!

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” ~ Charles Brower During a recent playshop, we decided to offer Fear a place to sit. Fear’s presence needed to be acknowledged. It didn’t serve anyone to pretend it was not in the room. Fear, after all, is one of the great impediments to being playful and creative. We fear being judged, doing it “wrong”, looking too silly, failure etc. Fear doubts the innate artist within, demands perfection, and devises unnecessary plans to ensure we avoid unexpected pitfalls and looking “stupid”. It works us hard! Today’s kids have become so fearful of […]

Why Kids Need to Question, Not Conform ~ Unleashing Creativity and the Rascal Within

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Why Kids Need to Question, Not Conform ~ Unleashing Creativity and the Rascal Within

“Creativity is an act of defiance.” ~ Twyla Tharp My mother will tell you that when I was a child I asked “Why?” a lot. My inquisitive nature was more than just a simple childlike curiosity, though. I was provocative, bent on challenging the facts of life, eager to question conventional thought and practice. Like many kids, there was a little rascal in me who wanted to be different, have a voice, and say No. Little did I, or my mother, realize that this rascal had a larger purpose—to forge a path that brings new thought and possibilities into the world. Questioning is a natural and necessary part of any change process. Asking “Why?”, wondering, imagining, dreaming new dreams, engaging in healthy open discussions, and […]

The Moonlit Forest Path of Inquiry ~ 8 Questions to Nurture the Heart and Creativity of Children

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The Moonlit Forest Path of Inquiry ~ 8 Questions to Nurture the Heart and Creativity of Children

“Who am I?” “What is the purpose of life?” “What brings me joy?” “What are my gifts?” “What really matters?” “What do I know for certain?” “What is it to belong?” “What is it to love?” To nurture the Heart and Creativity of children, we must travel down the moonlit forest path of inquiry asking ourselves the eight questions listed above. These are not questions many of us were encouraged to explore, and so the path may seem dark, strange and unfamiliar. And yet, what are the consequences of a society that only travels 100 feet, a few yards, or stops at the trailhead? How might our reticence impact how we perceive ourselves, life, how we treat children, what we deem as being important? And what […]

The Core Reason We “Ready” Children Too Early and Too Much

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The Core Reason We “Ready” Children Too Early and Too Much

The Guest House — by Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks  This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.   A playshop participant of mine recently told me how challenging it was for her daughter to enter grade […]

Creating a Healthy and Happy Education Ecosystem ~ Making Learning Come Alive in Schools and Professional Development

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Creating a Healthy and Happy Education Ecosystem ~ Making Learning Come Alive in Schools and Professional Development

“If an audience only listens, they take away 12% of your content. By making it more visual you can increase audience comprehension and remembrance to 26%. But when you actually get them involved and responding, their understanding and ‘take away’ goes to 51%.” ~ Mark Lavergne After presenting a breakout session at a conference recently, one of the participants pulled me aside and told me that the way I lead—with a healthy balance of audience participation, inquiry, open discussion and practical application—was the exception at professional development events she had attended, not the rule. She wasn’t telling me anything I hadn’t heard before. I have been told this a number of times. I have also seen how delegates learn in breakout sessions at conferences—primarily while […]

Inspiring Quotes on Child Learning and Development

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Inspiring Quotes on Child Learning and Development

For many years I have been a collector of quotes. I love how they convey so much in so few words. Since I began leading keynotes and playshops for teachers and child care professionals, I have grown a particular fondness for quotes on child learning and development. Below is a list of my favourites (and I have snuck in a few of my own quotes). I hope they inspire you to engage the heart and mind of children in loving and playful ways. *                   *                  * Check out Vince’s book: Let the Fire Burn ~ Nurturing the Creative Spirit of Children, A Children’s Book for Adults Related reading: Playful Quotes for the Child in your Heart Inspiring Quotes to Ignite Imagination, Wonder and Laughter Inspiring, Troubling and […]

Is it the Truth? ~ Question Your Beliefs and Expand Possibilities

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Is it the Truth? ~ Question Your Beliefs and Expand Possibilities

“Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours.” ~ Richard Bach Our beliefs define what is possible for us. They act as a lens through which we view and relate to the world. Our beliefs write manuals, curriculum and the news. They mark papers, define job descriptions, design policies and procedures, and outline meeting agendas. They decide how we should behave, what kind of person would make a good partner, and what really matters in the world. They determine what is right or wrong, good or bad based on what we experienced in the past. If we believe that silliness or messiness is bad, or that there is a “right” way to conduct business according to company policies, there is a good chance […]

Doodle, Dream, and the Dance of Co-Creation ~ 3 Stages to Unlocking the Gifts of Free Unstructured Play

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Doodle, Dream, and the Dance of Co-Creation ~ 3 Stages to Unlocking the Gifts of Free Unstructured Play

“Drawing/doodling can help us to focus on the task at hand. Listening or reading with pencil in hand leads to a 29% better memory recall. Draw/doodling offsets the effects of ‘selective memory blockade’.” ~ Journal of Applied Psychology, February 2009 A few years ago, I was walking along the streets of Summerside, PEI, when I spontaneously began to make some funny noises with my mouth. The sounds were a combination of gibberish and rapping. As I allowed myself to explore and play with these sounds some more, I eventually sank into an eccentric and rhythmic beatbox that I thoroughly enjoyed! It was then that something unexpected happened. A thought appeared in my mind: This is doodling! This is what children do when then draw, except I am […]

4 Criteria for Teaching and Learning ~ Empowering Both Teacher and Student

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4 Criteria for Teaching and Learning ~ Empowering Both Teacher and Student

In my playshops with teachers we have regular conversations about what structures support and limit education. We discuss how certain structures, that we think need to be put in place, may in fact get in the way of a child’s learning and development. Education is ongoing balance between structure and flow. Too much structure and we stifle the child’s creative spirit and capacity to make decisions for herself. Too much flow and there may not be a container, and enough guidance or safety. It is my personal opinion that for teaching and learning to thrive, any structure used should meet the following four criteria: Does it support the child’s safety? Does it support the child’s academic development? Does it support the child’s creativity and imagination? Does it support the child’s self-esteem and empowerment, including her capacity to be self-directed? […]

15 Ways to Support Children to Play with their Intuition ~ Engaging the Heart, Intelligence & Innocence of Children

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15 Ways to Support Children to Play with their Intuition ~ Engaging the Heart, Intelligence & Innocence of Children

“The best way to preserve a child’s vision is to let them see things their way rather than yours.” ~ Jacob Liberman. Intuition is… the knowing/sensing of something beyond time, space, reason, the use of prior knowledge and the five senses. It is the gateway to your soul. Intuition is your birthright. As children you freely connect to your intuition so naturally that you don’t even know it is intuition. It is an everyday awareness permeating your existence that you are intimately connected with and a part of. Life feels magical and your environment is filled with endless possibilities. It doesn’t take long before you lose this sense of presence and wonder. Soon you are more engaged in limited thinking and the responsibilities of life than […]