Inspiring, Troubling and More: Research and Stories on Child Learning and Development

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Inspiring, Troubling and More: Research and Stories on Child Learning and Development

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~ Stacia Tauscher For a while now, participants in my keynotes and playshops have asked me to share the growing collection of research and stories I have on child learning and development. Teachers, in particular, want to share these finding with parents and education faculty to broaden perspectives on the importance of such things as play and nature in learning and development. Each piece below is listed as an excerpt of useful information with a link to its associated article making your perusing easier. Feel free to come back to this page as I will add new findings regularly, listing them at the top of their respective category. Scattered amongst […]

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 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 […]

Remembering Joy ~ Touching the Immeasurable Essence of Life

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Remembering Joy ~ Touching the Immeasurable Essence of Life

The more you teach the measurable, the more children will feel like they can never measure up. Since our early years, we have been inculcated with that which is measurable. We have not been fully supported to gaze in wonder at a butterfly, and explore the feelings and insights it gives us. Instead, increasingly we’ve had to know about it – to understand what kind of butterfly it is, how/where it flies, and what it eats. Rational thought and knowledge has indeed surpassed the purity of wonder. Knowing about has usurped our ability and desire to just be with—to commune with our surroundings, to be present with life. With pressures from parents and schools, and influences from society as a whole, we have become gatherers of the information age, conquers of time and […]

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? […]

The Disappearance of Play ~ 7 Reasons We Play Less Than Ever

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The Disappearance of Play ~ 7 Reasons We Play Less Than Ever

“Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.”  ~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You. Play is slowly fading away from our lives. Once a natural part of our existence, play is becoming the shadow of a world increasingly governed by unyielding complexity, technology and expectations. Society is increasingly trying to compartmentalize play and push it to the side. Just look at how we structure our week. We have weekdays and weekends. Five days are dedicated to work and only two for family and playtime. We have academic learning and play based learning. We have separated play from learning despite the […]