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Do We Take Children’s Points of View Seriously?

It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
Wendell Berry

Deb Curtis, in her book, Really Seeing Children, writes: “My view of children has been profoundly influenced by the educators of Reggio Emilia in their work promoting a strong sense image of the child. One of the most significant resources for me is the book Reggio Tutta. It’s a delightful, yet thoughtful guidebook to the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy, written by children. It is full of words, images, and drawings created by children to describe the city from their point of view. This book invites us to imagine how different the world might be if we really did take children’s points of view seriously in the way we plan for our communities and how we live together in the world.”

In their dual-language book, Treasures in the Thicket Tesoros en el monte, Bethica Quinn and Rosalina Rodriguez also demonstrate the wonder that is possible when children’s points of view are respected and encouraged. The authors invited their preschool children to create a book about the animals of San Francisco (where their school was located), explaining that Quinn and Rodriquez would share the book with children in New Zealand, during their teacher study tour trip. The authors explain:

“If our goal had been simply to create a book about animals with the children in our class, our task would have been fairly simple. But the purpose of engaging in acts of collaboration with children is not the production of artistic artifacts. Neither is it the teaching of information…Rather, we engage in this kind of work with children in order to invite them to learn in deeper and more complex ways...aligned with the children’s ideas.”

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