In a recent blog post, “Teacher Tom” Hobson remarked, “We try to artificially confound [children] with facts, questions, and equations, then, just as artificially, usurp the role of their own story-telling brains, by equally artificially telling them our pre-approved story: the ‘correct’ and only story. This is what I call the cult of right and wrong answers, this anti-human idea that answers are the end result of learning…”
He continues, “When we allow children to play, to ask and answer their own questions, we free them to be intellectually creative, to synthesize and re-synthesize their own stories, to discover their own genius. We can keep them safe and healthy, we can pick them up when they fall, we can soothe them when they are hurt or afraid, but beyond that, the best possible use for our time with children is to be intellectually creative ourselves: to allow ourselves to be confounded and inspired by them, and to step back and allow young people the creative freedom to tell, tell, and re-tell stories that help them make sense of the world.”
In his book, A Can of Worms: Fearless Conversations with Toddlers, Nick Terrones shares a similar line of thinking: “I believe that my role as an educator is to acknowledge children’s curiosities, whatever they may be, by engaging in authentic conversations and experiences with them. I have witnessed, time and again, toddlers’ ability to sit with life’s big questions without the need for an immediate answer. Toddlers remind me that learning is a process that doesn’t always have an immediate outcome, but is something that evolves.”
Fearless Conversations with Toddlers
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Toddlers ask big, bold questions every day. Teachers and caregivers give shape to the world as they respond to those questions. The conversation unfolds in an electric moment—an awkward, exciting, bewildering moment. A Can of Worms is a guide and support for celebrating these most important conversations. Have no fear! Take a deep breath, and respond.
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