Freedom to Be

 

Several years ago I was blessed to find out about Bev Bos and Michelle Cassou within a short period of time. I had the privilege of going to visit Roseville Community Pre-school and to meet Bev Bos in person. I was so inspired by my visit to that school that I attended the Good Stuff for Kids Conference in 2014. I began to look more closely into the world of children and I began to understand that there are constant limits, rules, and No’s, being placed upon children every moment of every day. I was smiling when I listened to Bev describing a situation where a teacher rang the bell for story time inside and two boys were still outside the door. At Roseville Community Pre-school , as far as I understand it, the children are not forced to participate if they don’t want to. Those boys kept peeking in and running back outdoors to play. What a gift to teach children at a young age that their will is powerful and that their choices are respected. Of course this doesn’t mean in safety situations that an adult wouldn’t interfere. It simply means that children are given opportunities to choose their own experience and feel powerful. How often do we give children a chance to feel their own power? I experimented with this idea several years ago in the classroom. I invited all who wanted to participate in a classroom meeting to come to the carpet. About 5 of the 12 students came. The others were engaged in their projects and listening in on what we were talking about. What I noticed was that this meeting was largely successful because it was not mandatory. The kindergarteners were enthusiastic, engaged, and ready to solve-problems and generate new ideas. The following week several more children joined in. I do my best to intentionally create opportunities for children to feel free and chances for them to make their own choices in all subject areas. I love to see children mixing paints, and completely engaged in their own creative process. A little mess on the floor is so easy to clean up and it is worth seeing the natural joy of a child. While we do learn to take care of the art materials in class we also learn that we can be free to pour, blend, mix, and paint. I highly suggest watching the video The Flowering of Children’s creativity by Michelle Cassou.

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