how do you create scaffolds that allow kids' imaginations to soar?
You’re a parent, a teacher, a therapist, a librarian… How do we, in these roles, engage our kids? Often it’s through questions - what, who, where, how, why… But here’s the thing, these question forms in many ways guide the answers. They provide an invisible rope that guides a child’s thinking towards a specific answer - they support convergent thinking. But, what if you wanted to prime the kid’s into a more playful mindset? What if you wanted them to diverge outward and override factual walls? You know those rigid walls. They sound like, “That’s not how it’s done” or “That’s not possible” or “This is the way.”
In many ways, the objective reasoning cultivated in school can inhibit creative thinking. Let’s take a minute to recognize how absurd that is. Sadly, through test-driven pressures, systemwide strains and questionable education policies we’ve come to a place where there is a divide between learning and creating, even though as Tina Seelig Ph.D so aptly puts it - “Knowledge fuels imagination and imagination is the catalyst that transforms knowledge into new ideas…” (p. 15, InGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity).
So how to diverge? How to take what you know to support what you might think? We’ve found that the opening phrase of “What if” has encouraged our kids to consider so many more alternatives and possibilities. It is an invitation to break through, hop over and scale the walls of the rigid, the done, and the obvious.
Nancy Tarshis MA, MS, CCC-SLP, Allie Brudner MS, CCC-SLP, Noor Al Radi MS CCC-SLP Being grown-up kids, play continues to be a relished home for flights of ideas. As speech language pathologists at the Rose F. Kennedy Center, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) in the Bronx we try to infuse all therapy with opportunities for that sense of wonder when tinkering, problem-solving and all other -ings.