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Being Water, Being Stone
November 17, 2022
If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.
-Alfie Kohn, Author and Lecturer

“Some of the worst groups that I’ve ever run with kids is when I have this vivid expectation about what things should look like, and then, all of a sudden, kids are ‘misbehaving’ and they’re ruining my expectation of what the game was supposed to look like," says Steve Gross in the Turn-Key video Intentional Teaching, "So, I’m invested in it one way; kids’ behavior is bringing it another way, and now I have a choice: Do I oppress and guide so that everything goes exactly the way I wanted it to go or do I also find a balance to know when do I give up some of that control? What issues do I really have to address and what stuff can I take a deep breath and go with the flow? When do I need to be water and when do I need to be stone?”

Founder and Chief Playmaker at the Playmaker Project, Gross is, perhaps, striving for the kind of balance Ann Epstein describes in her book, The Intentional Teacher:

"An effective early childhood program combines both child-guided and adult-guided educational experiences. These terms do not refer to extremes—that is, child-guided experiences are not highly child controlled, nor are adult-guided experiences highly adult controlled. Rather, adults play intentional roles in child-guided experiences, and children have significant, active roles in adult-guided experiences. Each type of experience takes advantage of planned as well as spontaneous, unexpected learning opportunities."


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