Part of children being able to create and think critically is that they should be given the opportunity to be reflective. This gives them time to make connections and create. To foster this practitioners should, at times, stand back and allow children to be quiet in their play, as this can be an indication that they are thinking, processing information and planning their next steps in their play.
I remember this thought provoking anecdote from Vivian Hill, Director of Educational Psychology Training at the Institute of Education when she recalled the time she was called into a school to assess a four year old boy in the nursery department who spent his whole time day-dreaming, head in hands and looking out of the window. “His teachers were worried. I asked him what he was thinking about. ‘I wonder why it’s harder to pedal uphill than down?’ he replied. He was thinking about elementary physics.” ~ The Sunday Times, August 2005
Vivian’s recollection links into this recently published article from BBC online education. I totally agree with the academics in this article that we should indeed allow children to be ‘bored’. One of the academics in this report Dr Belton said ‘children needed time to stand and stare.’ Although, me being me, I wouldn’t use the term ‘bored’. I would say we need to allow children to reflect, recharge and reinvent! This is what a quality setting incorporates during the day for children.
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So, within our settings, do we give children the time to be quietly reflective if they so wish to be so? How do we sensitively explore their ideas and suggestions? How do we give children the opportunity to own their creative ideas? How do you celebrate this within your setting?
Lastly, it is OK for children to be quiet and to have thinking time. You never know they could be the next Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey!
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