Listen, Ask a Question and Listen Again

There are times in our work as educators, that call for us to slow down, take a breath and be in the moment with a child. Teaching in a Nature Explore Classroom can help us take that pause and gently wonder alongside a child. The pace and the questions we pose can directly impact the conversations that emerge. Here are a few prompts we find especially compelling.

What do you notice?

This guides children to share their own observations. As they respond, they tell us what they value and what they already know about the world. When we follow their lead with presence and interest, a cycle of growth begins, leading to more detailed observations and deeper exploration.

What do you like?

This question inspires children to share their own feelings and to make statements of interpretation and personal preference. Acknowledging different preferences also provides us an opportunity to talk with children about opinions versus facts and ways to formulate and value their own preferences while respectfully hearing others’ opinions and preferences.

What do you wonder?

Children’s wonderings can be the launch pad for a wide range of learning pathways and investigations – scientific, mathematical, historical, practical, or even fictional. The word ‘wonder’ encourages children to do their own thinking. It implies contemplation, curiosity, and dreaming about possibilities. Not only is it important to teach children that we value their answers, but above all, we must show them that we value their questions.

Are thoughtful questions your superpower? Give these questions a try, and share with us what you learn!