Monday, May 3, 2010

Always Available

I'm a big advocate of children's creativity. We talked a lot about that in the conference I led a couple of weeks ago. I encourage children to follow their ideas and experiment with materials. And I encourage other preschool leaders to do the same.

One of the "rules" I encourage is to provide resources for a child when he asks for it, if possible. If a child asks me for tape or scissors (and those items are not already out in the room somewhere), I get them for him. I want to provide the tools for his creativity.

A couple of years ago, I decided to support this idea a little further. Now in my room, scissors, glue sticks, and paper scraps are always available if needed. I found some of those magnetic locker "baskets" (for cheap at the back-to-school sale) and attached them to my white board. Kids can use these items whenever they choose; the resources are always at hand. (Not a new idea, I know. But it was a new step for us.)

I worried that I would be cleaning up paper bits each week from overuse of scissors. However, kids only use them when they really need them...which is not very frequently. And when they are used, the results can be surprising and amusing.

This experience has confirmed my thinking as a teacher - seeing the child as the one with more control and autonomy and myself as facilitator rather than power-holder and permission-granter. Since my room is used for a variety of other groups of various ages, I have to keep things easy to put out and take up. One day I hope to have a situation in which I can leave out more art supplies to be used as the child chooses. Until that day, I'll facilitate as much as possible...and enjoy the results.

1 comment:

  1. i agree! it is amazing to see what they will choose when it's all available to them.