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Stretching Our Thinking
May 15, 2020
For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
-H. L. Mencken

We developed our newest resource, Exchange Reflections, because of requests from the survey we sent to readers like you. You asked for resources to help support meaningful discussions with staff or college students (either in person on online), or to just help you think more deeply about your own work. We’ve been trying to choose thought-provoking article topics that could lead to some “stretch thinking” and perhaps even a debate or two.

The newest two Exchange Reflections, “Reflecting on Risky Play,” and “The Unteachable Moment” certainly ask the reader to consider new ways of looking at adult interactions with children.

Here’s an excerpt from “Reflecting on Risky Play”:

“We have been learning more about the importance of following children’s desire to explore materials in ways that present infinite possibilities…As we work with young children, we must learn from the research on brain development and play…We must ask ourselves, What is our role in guarding and preserving children’s right to play and explore the world? How must we, in our classrooms, act and think around explorations that might initially make us nervous? How can we navigate the demands placed on us as early childhood educators while still fiercely protecting children’s right to play?”

And from “The Unteachable Moment”:

“Excellent, effective educators often notice and tap into the teachable moment — that magical time when something unexpected happens and an unplanned, but fabulous opportunity arises to share a new insight or to guide children in exploration or discovery. A second path to effective teaching — and parenting — especially of young children, lies in honing our ability to also recognize the unteachable moment, when tempers and emotions run hot and things seem to erupt out of control…

No one is above experiencing an unteachable moment. We’ve all been there at one time or another. Learning will not occur while the brain is flooded with cortisol. Accept this and move on to some very helpful things you can do during an unteachable moment:

  • As they say on the airplane, put on your own oxygen mask first. Keep your focus on calming things down, starting with yourself. Research shows that rage is contagious, but so is a sense of calm.

  • Keep everyone safe. Sometimes this means asking those who can to do things that might seem unfair: moving away from the conflict, changing activities, or putting away an object of contention.

  • Avoid trying to teach a lesson or make a point. It won’t be heard and it will likely prolong the conflict by keeping the child in a neurochemically-charged state.”

NEW Resource!
Exchange Reflections

Exchange Reflections are designed to help a team of people meet in-person or live online to think deeply together about a topic using an article from Exchange magazine as a guide. Included are discussion questions to help guide reflections, as well as a "Making Commitments" idea sheet to help prompt ideas into action. For your convenience, Exchange Reflections are available in PDF format and you can download immediately on your desktop.

We are offering a “choose your price” option during this challenging time. The regular price of Exchange Reflections (which can be used with up to 75 of your students or staff) is $10. For those of you able to pay regular price, thank you. It helps us keep paying our staff. For those of you who need to use the 50% off coupon, we understand. Times are tough right now and some budgets are on the edge. Please do what works in your own circumstances.

Use coupon code REFLECTIONS at checkout
For 50% off this new resource

Offer valid through June 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.
May not be combined with any other offer.
Not valid on past purchases or bulk purchase discounts.


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ExchangeEveryDay is the official electronic newsletter for Exchange Press. It is delivered five days a week containing news stories, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.

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