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Kids Own Wisdom
Kids' Own Wisdom - A Resource That Transforms the World
Review by Craig Wiesner
People often come into our shop with a big problem to solve and are looking for unique resources they haven't been able to find anywhere else. Other times people come into our shop because they're working on something special and are wondering if we'll check it out to see if it might be a good fit for our audience. We absolutely love it when the two of those come together as they did this week. First, a doctor who works with groups of children in various spots on the Asperger/Autism spectrum, wanted to find a tool she could use to share various social situations with the kids and discuss what's happening in those situations, how the people seem to be feeling, and what other ways that same social situation could be approached. If this had been a cartoon conversation, a light bulb would have appeared above my head as I remembered something that Nini White had brought into our shop over a year ago. "We had someone bring a product to our shop that she was working on, I think it was called 'Thunder Blunders' or something, but I don't know if she ever actually produced it." Just 48 hours after the doctor left the shop we got a note from Nini White saying that she had finally finished what was now called Kids' Own Wisdom and would love to show us.
We now have it in our shop and I have to say that it is simply fantastic and would be perfect for working with any children, ages 4-6, and we think especially useful for children on "the spectrum."
What is it? Here's how the creator describes it:
KIDS' OWN WISDOM is a ready-to-use, beautifully designed set of 21 large-format, two-sided, color picture cards that show contrasting images of children in a wide range of situations.
No lectures are involved. Instead, an entirely relevant, yet not-so-predictable list of open-ended questions is provided to fully engage students in group discussions, while expanding their awareness of the wider world around them.
Invariably, during KIDS' OWN WISDOM discussions, shared values and understanding are discovered, thus increasing the sense of ‘belonging,' while dislodging feelings of isolation... for long-term positive results on students' social and emotional development.
Kids' Own Wisdom: Educational materials designed to develop the social side of school and life readiness for groups of 4-6 year olds.
Reach And Teach says:
It is an incredibly well designed and engaging set of user-friendly materials showing children involved in different social situations with open-ended questions that a teacher, parent, or other facilitator can use to initiate a discussions. Questions are appropriately challenging to children about: what's happening, how the people in the picture are feeling, how the children seeing the picture feel about what they are seeing, after which they look at another image of the same situation where the children are behaving differently.
Within two minutes of opening the Kids' Own Wisdom kit, I knew exactly how to use it and felt as though I could walk into a room of kids and get started. What I especially loved was the illustration style and the totally diverse depictions of children and adults shown in the images. Every child will find another child in these pictures that looks a little bit, or a lot, like him or her. The children in the illustrations truly represent the rainbow of diversity found in America today.
This is exactly what to doctor who came into our shop would have ordered!
Here's how the Kids Own Wisdom web site talks about the kit:
- Kids' Own Wisdom respects, and draws upon, children's inborn critical thinking and problem solving abilities, as well as their natural instinct to empathize.
- There are no lectures, no moralizing, no imposing ‘Right/Wrong,' ‘Good/Bad,' ‘Nice/Mean' labels, because it is seen that overuse of those practices actually stifles children's motivation to self-sufficiently make those distinctions based upon their own inherent wisdom.
- It is a uniquely creative and effective approach to cumulatively improving the social side of school and life readiness through twice weekly 10-15 minute group conversation circles, that easily carryover into natural follow-up conversations.
- A teacher, classroom assistant, or parent volunteer (any adult who can read and listen) sits with a group of students, facilitating conversation circles, using the age-appropriate illustrations, with the clearly communicated guidelines and open ended questions that are provided.
- Kids' Own Wisdom questions are based on contrasting illustrations that are intriguing to children because they're 100% relevant to children. Teachers often report that even shy children cannot resist contributing their own points of view in Kids' Own Wisdom Conversation Circles.
- Children gain genuine, well grounded confidence from multiple opportunities to purposefully express their thoughts, feelings and opinions ... to which the teacher and all classmates listen. Equally significant, are the gains children realize by listening to the purposeful self-expression of others - which they do, because the topics covered in Kids' Own Wisdom are entirely relevant and engaging to them.
- We agree! The kit's contents have been tested in over 100 classrooms and we're confident that this will become a treasured resource at pre-schools, day-care centers, K-1 classrooms, Sunday schools, and many other venues where children gather. It is a simple, beautiful, and profoundly impactful product.