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Helping Educators Nurture Thinkers, Explorers and Innovators
January 29, 2021
For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.
-Neil deGrasse Tyson

In an article that forms the basis of a new Exchange Reflections, "Nurturing Thinkers, Explorers and Innovators," Laura Mickley writes, "As a quality improvement specialist, I am privileged to be able to spend time in classrooms. While in these programs, I have noted that the day is often split between what is conceived as ‘play time’ and ‘learning time.’ The part of the day envisioned as learning time often involves a teacher standing in the front of a group of children with a calendar, weather chart and other pre-printed information adorning the wall behind them. The children, in rote fashion, count off numbers or repeat the days of the week..."

Mickley then describes a different kind of experience with a teacher (called Miss Trisha) who built on children’s curiosities to nurture a lively exploration about octopus brains:

"The children were curious and invested in learning. They engaged in brainstorming, prediction and planning. If Miss Trisha had simply provided information, much of that higher-order thinking would not have taken place. I observed how she inspired the children to think more, to search for answers on their own and with guidance. I witnessed how she stirred curiosity in them....Would singing the numbers on the calendar have had the same impact as contemplating octopus brains?...

How do we get classrooms to evolve into places where we allow the children’s curiosity about octopus brains and other fascinations to guide learning experiences?...Once you decide that your program needs to move to a child-centered, inquiry-based program in which educators challenge children to think and interact to expand learning, you will need to decide how you motivate your educators. Determining how they learn and how to build on their strengths will be an important part of your strategies. By keeping in mind parallel-process, you will work to fascinate your staff as you want them to fascinate children."

The Exchange Reflections invites deep discussions on ways to support educators in nurturing more innovative explorations with children.





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 you can distribute to your staff or students) 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 February 20, 2021 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.
May not be combined with any other offer.
Not valid on bulk purchase discounts.

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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Tiffany Peckham · February 01, 2021
Lincoln, NE, United States


Your comment put a smile on MY face this morning :) thank you for reading ExchangeEveryDay.

Janet Connors · January 29, 2021
PEACE H.S.- E.H.S.
Syracuse, New York, United States


I have been in the field of early childhood education for over 25 years.
The classrooms I remember are the ones that took off as thinkers on a owned interested. The year a group of active boys became scientist and set off volcanoes after making and researching all about them. The year the children's favorite story was Jack and the Beanstalk they grew beans in all kind of environment. The one hidden from light grew translucent and the one in water only sprouted. The year Cookie's Week set-off all kinds of children authored books about a curious cat and school ,the library the store and other locations. What fun this kind of learning generates and you sneak in the days of the week and counting to 30!! Thanks for the journey down memory lane it put a smile on my masked face this morning.



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