Letting thinkers think, creators create, and trusting in their resolve...

Children from room 6 at the Gilliate building were invited to explore the studio, which had been set up with multiple open-ended provocations. Unless engaged by a child, I only observed (and photographed) the goings-on in the studio. One child in particular, Arden, bypassed all of the “ready-made” provocations and started for the building area. He tried standing the blocks on-end, laying them with an overlying “roof”, amongst other methods of building a sound structure. Eventually he came and asked for tape. We found scotch tape, which obviously wasn’t successful in holding the heavy wooden blocks together. But then, we were able to find some duct and packing tape. He found this to be more successful in holding his structure together, but still had some collapses and structural issues. With each failed attempt, he became increasingly more upset. However, after we discussed and he had cooled off, he went right back and began to try again. Eventually, he was able to get his planks to stay together in making a small house-like structure. You could see the immediate understanding of his success on his face. He promptly asked to make an “under-construction, please don’t touch” sign to keep his work and progress safe. He did, but his triumph was quickly halted when another child accidentally destroyed his house. This time he was still frustrated but now understood what he needed to do to make his project successful. We chatted a bit more and he was now adamant about the fact that he could now easily come back and know exactly what to do to be successful during his next go-around. While walking back to his classroom, he was beaming while talking about how he was going to build his house the next time he had a chance to visit the studio. This small story from a single day’s work is a representation of the creativity, problem-solving abilities, and outright resiliency of our children. While the issues many face are far more serious than my friend Arden’s on this day, we know that our children are capable of confronting problems head-on. We should always give them the first chance to do so.

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