One of the ways that I accomplish that is by asking a simple question when a child asks for what they need: "What's your plan?"
One of the many times I said it today surrounded this wonderful tale of a child, owning a problem they caused, and independently solving it. It also involves a child who is very observant and loves to practice what he sees.
Four children were launching shower puffs with the catapult my co-author so awesomely makes. (I am trying to find a link to them, but am running into roadblocks...I will post one here as soon as I can!) Hanging above the launching area are our balloon hammocks (a great storage space for balloons).
Trillian launched a shower puff directly into one of the hammocks.
Get a super long cardboard block and a chair and gently whack it out.
As the title of this blog post implies, when Trillian asked if he could get a chair, I responded with "What's your plan?"
BEEEEEEEEEEEP! We interrupt this tale for a brief PSA (Public Service Announcement): Asking children to tell you their plan is an awesome opportunity for them to put into words what their brain is thinking, it causes them to pause, and think. It is also a great way to increase vocabularies, provide one-on-one time for that child and you, and empowers the child because you care about their plan and it is THERE'S, they OWN it.
And so...the problem solving began. It looked exactly like this:
|See the shower puff innocently trapped waiting to be rescued? Notice how cautiously Trillian is climbing the chair? Children NEED opportunities to assess risk, and to use caution.|
To my suprise, upon the first "gentle" whack of the harmless block, he made contact with the shower puff and it MOVED!! Trillian was ELATED! "I'M DOING IT NITA!" he exclaimed! He hopped down to regain his balance, and mounted the chair again.
|Trillian demonstrated grand balancing skills and had the opportunity to feel both success and failure during his attempt to solve his problem.|
This process was continued again and again. Fail....scoot the chair...success. Fail....scoot the chair...success. Until FINALLY.... HE DID IT!
Meanwhile all of this was going on, unbeknownst to us, someone was watching...and learning:
|Mr. "Monkey-See, Monkey-Do"|
The End (insert curtain closing...applause)
Why did I feel the need to share this little tale with you all? What is my purpose here?
There are many:
1) Encourage young children to solve problems....it's empowering.
2) Encourage young children to have a plan and share it with you....it's empowering.
3) TRUST young children to assess risk and use caution...it's empowering.
4) Encourage young children to try.....it's empowering.
5) Let children fail......it's empowering.
6) Let children struggle....it's empowering.
7) Let children ask for what they need, instead of stepping in and helping them without an invitation....it's empowering.
8) Let children own success....it's empowering.
So, in nutshell...this post is all about empowering young children!