“Children do not wait for our permission to think. Indeed, children are bursting with ideas that are always impatient to escape through language (and we say a hundred languages) to connect and communicate with the things of the world.”
– Louis Malaguzzi, Founder Reggio Emilia Approach
This was my little Jack today; bursting with ideas. We spent the morning at Questacon National Science and Technology Centre. It’s a fabulous place and every few weeks we go along for Science Time. This week’s theme was volcanoes. Volcanoes! Jack was thrilled! All the children sat in a circle while the teacher talked to them about volcanoes. Jack couldn’t sit still, he couldn’t sit down. He was too excited and wanted to tell the teacher all about what he knew. He was bursting.
I tried not to go and get him, not to ask him to sit down. I wanted him to know that his excitement was ok, that his thoughts were valid and important, but it was a difficult situation. I could see the teacher was getting a little nervous, a little off put. I could see other parents looking around to see if I was going to get him; he wasn’t doing what he should be, he wasn’t sitting down, he was interrupting the lesson. It was a difficult situation.
I waited until Jack was finished talking before I asked him to sit back down. Each time he hopped up, I waited. I think interrupting him would have told him that in fact his thoughts were not important, only the teacher’s were.
“Children do not live…in a pre-intellectual dimension, but they are capable of constructing thoughts and reflections because knowledge is with them, right from birth, in the heart of life itself.”
– Louis Malaguzzi
I battled with this daily when I was teaching, the notion that I was the only one who had the knowledge and it was my responsibility to hand it out to the students. The students would look at me, to me, searching for answers; they just didn’t believe they could, or didn’t know how to, search for the answers themselves. Or worse, they were conditioned to look to the teacher for the knowledge, for the answers.
I don’t want this for Jack. I want him to know that he has knowledge. That it is worth sharing. That it is important. That he can learn from others but also teach others.
So stand up little man and share your passions. I was so very proud of you today.