Listening & Responding

Have you ever heard your child say something that made you wonder, “Where did they learn that from?” or “How did they come up with that idea?” As parents, we often hear what our child is saying but at times we are distracted to really listen to what they are saying. 
An early childhood educator named Carlina Rinaldi once said, “Observe and listen to children because when they ask ‘Why?’ they are not simply asking for answers from you. They are requesting the courage to find a collection of possible answers.”
Since opening our doors at Play Haven, I’ve felt privileged to be a part of your lives as you spend time here. Observing the way your children work and play brings me great joy. As I interact with the children in the play space, several parents have commented about how the way I talk with the children really engages them in their play. And many have asked me about the best way to respond to certain questions and behaviors.
As a preschool teacher inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, one of the core principles is seeing children as competent and capable. Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia approach, writes: “Rather than seeing the child as an empty vessel waiting eagerly to be filled with knowledge, Reggio educators believe strongly in a child with unlimited potential who is eager to interact with and contribute to the world.”
With this always mind, when a child shows me their artwork, instead of simply saying “That’s beautiful!” or asking “What did you make?”, I’ll state an observation such as, “I see you used a lot of blue” or “I can tell you really worked hard on that, can you tell me about it?” By asking open-ended questions, children are more likely to engage in a conversation about their work. It also takes the pressure away from making something specific. The learning process is then given more importance rather than the final product.
The way we listen to our children and respond to their questions has the potential to make their imagination fly. It’s been such a pleasure to see these types of interactions happening at Play Haven, and will remain part of our continued mission in serving your families.