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Confident Talkers – Conversations for Early Years

“Why is this special to you?”

“How do you know when your friends are sad?”

Asking children open-ended questions helps them to think critically and expand their vocabulary. It also builds their confidence, aiding their personal, emotional and social development.

In these Confident Talkers cards, I’ve put together 48 such questions to engage and stimulate conversation with children from two to seven years.

Each card contains a thought-provoking question that can be adapted to any number of situations – inside or out and about, playing quietly, on the go, in the car or at the dinner table. You can use different scenarios and objects to set the scene, such as using something the child has created, describing what their lunch tastes like or discuss how they feel about a special event, such as their birthday or other celebration.

By encouraging conversation children learn new words and concepts, develop active listening skills, learn to problem solve and make connections, and most […]


Philosophical Play in the Early Years Setting

Communicating with children and interpreting their play and language requires skill and a sensitive approach. Therefore it gives me pleasure to have Sara Stanley, who supports children by using a philosophical approach, as my guest blogger

Sara is a registered level 1 SAPERE Trainer and National and International keynote speaker. She runs workshops, in service training and courses in Philosophy for Children (P4C) and enabling enquiry based classroom environments. She is also involved in long term projects working in Early Years settings in South African townships, working with Nali’Bali, PRAESA, the University of Cape Town and the DG Murray Trust.

Sara writes:

 “It could be said that children are at their most philosophical in their formative years. If you take Socrates’ provocation that “All I know is that I know nothing” then we see everything as new and puzzling. To a child the whole world is a new and strange place; a place where some things make perfect […]


Doing nothing?

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 […]