Preschool Observations – Collaborations and Inventions

preschool observationsQuite often the Kodo Team gets out of the office and into classrooms to check in with kids and teachers. We make observations, take notes and are often invited to help, give advice and actively participate in play. In other words- children welcome us as collaborators.

Using the lens of the Colorado Department of Education Academic Standards, we noted the following about collaboration and invention after working along side these young students.

Observation: We saw and heard the children wondering if they could make a really long “bridge” that went from the table over to the window; about 6 feet! As they worked, they gave direction to one another, offered ideas, made agreements and compromises.

CDE 21st Century Skills for Reading, Writing and Communication:

Collaboration – Students should be able to collaborate with each other in multiple settings: peer groups, one-one-one, in front of an audience, in large and small group settings and with people of other ethnicities.

Observation: The children chose the longest available pieces, and one child predicted that they would need fewer of these to span the open space. His peers agreed. During the construction process they quickly discovered that without a supporting framework or some type of struts the bridge fell. “Guy’s, there’s nothing under here to hold it up!” They solved this problem by physically supporting the pieces themselves and asking for Chris’s help as well  (We suggest that the teachers formally introduce cantilevers and bridges). Though the structure fell many times, the children slowed their pace, made suggestions to one another about where they should place their hands for support, decided who would add the pieces, and eventually reached the shelf below the window. Since the goal was to reach the window, the children will have opportunity to revisit this work. (Teachers may wish to document this process.)

CDE 21st Century Skills for Mathematics:

Collaboration – Mathematics is a social discipline involving the exchange of ideas.

Invention – Invention  is the key element as students make and test conjectures, create mathematical models of real world phenomena, generalize results and make connections among ideas, strategies and solutions.

CDE 21st Century Skills for Science:

Collaboration – Science students must be able to listen to other’s ideas and engage in scientific dialogs that are based on evidence – not opinion.

Invention – Scientists and engineers often have to think outside the box as they push the limits of our current knowledge. They must learn from their failures to take the next steps in understanding.

In just a short time these three children had clearly demonstrated their growing capacity to problem-solve, think creatively and respect one another’s ideas. We’re sure your home state has developed or is developing a framework of desired skills for students. We know that even our youngest children meet these criteria whenever they are given time, space and open-ended materials to play and think together. How do you look at children’s development in terms of collaboration and invention?

Just thought we’d ask……

Diane and the Kodo Team

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