Thursday, December 15, 2011

Building a Child's Confidence

I really enjoyed a recent blog by Rachelle at TinkerlabSix Tools for Building a Child’s Confidence. She gives great ideas to encourage children and support their development into confident adults. I encourage you to read the post but I’m going to share my two favorite tools and my thoughts on those.
The first one is Imagination. For those of you who know me, that’s probably not a big surprise. I agree with Rachelle that letting kids explore their imagination and create. I like her advice to ask children open-ended questions – especially about their artwork. I know from experience that the story they will share is much richer than the one I might imagine for their piece. I get wonderful new ideas from my students because they still have a fresh view of the world and don’t shut down their creative side as quickly as we do as adults. What a great skill to nurture.
The other tool that struck a chord with me was Experimentation. That’s one of the things I enjoy so much about making ooglys with kids. Since there’s no right or wrong way to make an oogly, kids can try adding extra eyes, lots of hair and outsized features like enormous noses, a long tail or curly eyelashes. Clay is forgiving so children can try making their piece one way and if it doesn’t work, try again another way. They can make an oogly with a big pinchpot and then try again with a smaller pinch pot or a different shape. The possibilities are endless and the kids learn as the experiment. It also helps them to see that “failure” is really just part of the learning process and taking risks generally breeds success.
What do you think it the most important of Rachelle’s six tools to building children’s confidence? Do you have other ideas that work for you?

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