Thursday, October 29, 2009

Resource and Pondering

Side tracked again. Found this site this morning. Let's Teach Kids. What first caught my eye wasn't the book for sale (the caterpillar book) but another list of recommended books under it - books you can find in a library. Bibliographies are great! Even short ones. Besides, clowning, drama, and other tools the other idea/item of note is that they have very lifelike flannel/felt habitats. I only saw one for Bible stories. Turns out there are still alot of Bible felt sets out there.

Sometimes people come to EK looking for powerpoint/photo/images for Bible stories. (It came up in a post a while back.) Turns out if you find a variety of different felt sets and backgrounds to mix and match for different stories (the animal sets and habitats could be used, too) you would have movable pictures instead of just pictures. But some of you are burned out on felt. I understand. Some of you have progressed to powerpoint, CDs, and computers- media many kids are more familiar with.

Take some time and think about how kids interact with different resources and media. What's it growing in your kids? Stuffed toys or felt? Felt or powerpoint? Powerpoint or Cd? Ready-made, teacher-made or student-made? Make your observations. List strengths and weaknesses including cost. Look at the various learning styles, student backgrounds and experience, language skills, observation skills. Look at how a resource works or doesn't work.

Sometimes it works best to use materials that give a child opportunity to excel in their element - using materials and tools they love. Sometimes it works best to require kids to work outside their comfort zone. That will vary from child to child. Either way you can use a discovery/problem-solving approach.

Don't spoon-feed them. Spoon-feeding is for babies and people who can't feed themselves. Use materials that make kids work, that make kids think, that give kids opportunity to use their senses and their young spirits to figure things out, draw conclusions, and grow new skills. Use resources that cause kids to have to work together and communicate. See what God will do.

There are times for us to give kids our answers or the answers they're looking for. But there are times when our answers are our answers and sometimes answers mean more to a child if they figure it out or finds an answer his/her own self. Takes more time and patience on our end. Sometimes it has risks. Some kids will have to put any answer they find through the ringer.

Without letting them hang themselves, how do we let them find what they're looking for in such a way that it becomes theirs? Sometimes materials and tools are important. Sometimes they're not.


  1. Great points! I like how you emphasize helping children discover as the value rather than the specific methods and resources used to facilitate that discovery.

    You probably already have this in your post or somewhere else on your blog, but I think one added thing to remember as you are facilitating discovery is to be careful to allow that discovery not to be your own but theirs. Sometimes children will discover things that aren't part of your agenda, and we need to be open to that. I believe that many times children are more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as they are discovering God and we need to recognize that when it happens.

  2. Thanks, Henry! You are absolutely right. I won't tell you how many times I would say to my children (my own children) "This is going to be fun." Ha! Somehow, they were never convinced. Not exactly the same but gosh what would happen to the world (in a good way) if we were awed by all the discoveries our kids make especially the unplanned ones! I suppose some people think God made us to be spoon-fed but I'd love to think that just maybe discovery was part of the plan.