Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

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Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

“Teachers expect kids to act like adults, but they treat them like children.” These are the frustrated words from a mature grade seven student. When asked for an example, she said, “I remember in kindergarten sharing ideas and dreams with my teacher, and she would respond by saying, ‘That’s nice, dear. Why don’t you go and draw a picture about it.’” I then asked how her teacher could have responded differently. She said, with a degree of irritation, “All she had to say was, ‘Tell me more about it.’” *** Scroll to the bottom to read 15 Questions Kids Hunger to Hear *** In the same way that recess is learning, engagement is teaching. “Conversation is gold. It’s the most efficient early-learning system we have. And it’s […]

Transcending the Illusion of Success ~ Thriving in Heart-felt and Hard-won Truth

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Transcending the Illusion of Success ~ Thriving in Heart-felt and Hard-won Truth

“It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery, rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” ~ Marianne Williamson I can hear my mother’s concerned voice now: “Vincent, how is your business going? Is everything okay?” My mother loves me dearly, and like many moms, she worries about her child, perhaps more than other moms do because of where I came from, and how I have chosen to travel a highly unconventional route. It wasn’t long ago that I was living below the poverty line for four years, desperately holding onto a dream that was slowly slipping from my grasp. I knew I wanted to be a speaker—to travel, leading groups deeper into […]

How Timed Math Worksheets Cause Anxiety and Erode Learner Confidence

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How Timed Math Worksheets Cause Anxiety and Erode Learner Confidence

“If the child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must teach in the way the child learns.” ~ Rita Dunn We have it in our minds that forcing children to learn through rigid, rote, pressured means is both useful and kind. It is neither. Children do not learn by sitting at desks for hours on end with a pencil and note/textbook, but rather by moving, exploring and engaging with the realities of life. There are countless ways children can learn math other than with the inappropriate, and dare I say, cruel means of timed math worksheets. They can play with blocks, measure ingredients with their imaginary baking set, or simply count clouds in the sky. Research shows that children learn math […]

The Power of Letting Kids Play at School ~ A Success Story for Students and Teachers

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The Power of Letting Kids Play at School ~ A Success Story for Students and Teachers

“For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational.’ The child learns while living, and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.” ~ Penelope Leach During one of my Remembering to Play playshops, an Early Learning Professional shared how allowing more play in and outside the classroom has benefited both students and teachers in dramatic and unexpected ways. Here is what she told me: As part of an initiative to slowly move towards more play in our school, we have increased the children’s playtime in our classroom to a minimum of 45 minutes to sometimes one hour per day (from 20-30 minutes). We have […]

Remembering the Soulfulness of Play ~ Trusting the Intelligence of Play to Raise a Child

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Remembering the Soulfulness of Play ~ Trusting the Intelligence of Play to Raise a Child

I wonder… “Wisdom begins in wonder.” ~ Socrates “I wonder”—two of my favorite words. Despite loving the luscious openness of the inquiry, I’m not always good at wondering. Sometimes I get stuck gazing through a fixed lens, trapped in myopia, thinking I know what’s right when really I can’t possibly know. The gift of wonder is that it invites me to soften my tired focused eyes for a moment, exhale and open. It is a resting space between my litany of beliefs and opinions where I can swim free like a child in seas of unchartered possibilities. It is the unraveling of my clenched working-mind, a limen into the mysterious that no thought can lead me to. For these reasons, wonder is not easy. The […]

The Co-Revolution: Teaching Kids to Self-Regulate is Not Enough ~ It’s Time to Heal Our Own Trauma and Co-Regulate

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The Co-Revolution: Teaching Kids to Self-Regulate is Not Enough ~ It’s Time to Heal Our Own Trauma and Co-Regulate

“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.” ~ Haim G. Ginott The new buzzwords in child development and education are self-regulation, trauma and attachment. Thank goodness! I’m so glad we are recognizing the burden of pain, depression and anxiety kids are carrying, and the support […]

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 […]

Let Children Play and they Remain in a State of Flow ~ They Move with the Intelligence of Life

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Let Children Play and they Remain in a State of Flow ~ They Move with the Intelligence of Life

Letting children play allows them to remain in a state of flow. This is incredibly vital given that flow is the natural state of life. Nature does not force, rather it moves as a young child moves, instinctually, with the intelligence of the whole guiding it through quiet whispers and nudges. It simply knows, in the same our heart knows; it knows without knowing how it knows. When children give themselves over to their play, and specifically unstructured play, they move as a river does, as the heart does, moment-to-moment, fluid and free. It is within this natural state that they stay connected to their inner whispers and nudges, the ancient impulses of life that breathe into their hand as they doodle, into their thoughts […]

Playful Quotes for the Child in your Heart

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Playful Quotes for the Child in your Heart

Enjoy this selection of quotes on play from luminaries past and present. These teachers express why play is so vital to our professional paths, creativity, purpose, relationships, learning, personal well-being and connection to life. And of course, they elucidate why play serves the health and development of children. You will see that I have weaved in a few of my own quotes as well. If your appetite for quotes is not quite satiated, check out my list of Inspiring Quotes for Child Learning and Development and Inspiring Quotes to Ignite Imagination, Wonder and Laughter. I also encourage you to watch this short, fun and inspiring video called Come Out & Play ~ Embracing Life’s Infinite Playground. Also… check out Vince’s book: Let the Fire Burn ~ Nurturing the Creative […]

Want to Be Spiritual? Change a Bed Pan.

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Want to Be Spiritual? Change a Bed Pan.

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” ~ Mother Teresa I see so many people trying to be spiritual, yet failing to see what it means to be human. They can talk enlightenment, how to massage their chakras and how to make a great green smoothie, but can they be silent enough to hear what others are saying? Can they talk slow enough to offer space for the words of others? Can they offer enough empathy to simply be with another’s experience, without enlightening them? Can they rest in curiosity with another, asking question after question about that person’s experience, without turning it back onto themselves, their processing, their high-level perspectives? Can they refrain from giving the significant […]