Posted by Claire Warden on

TIP: You'll need a Floorbook!

Floorbooks are a staple tool used in most of our work at our award-winning Auchlone Nature Kindergarten. They are a simple concept, but when used correctly they can be highly effective.

Floorbooks are a genuine record of a child’s thinking

Children's ideas and thoughts are recorded without re-framing or interpretation, so that they are a genuine record of their thinking and their expression of it.

"When children give a response to a question or contribute an idea that is far removed from the rest of the group thinking, the idea can be recorded as evidence of contribution, but not necessarily engagement." Dr Claire Warden

Floorbooks stimulate the child’s interest

Record open-ended questions that are asked in response to an interest originating with the children. The questions are posed as part of a conversation and are designed to stimulate thought rather than test knowledge.

"The flow of reflective talk is critical to the process, to create a partnership of exploration and discovery. Question and answer sessions create a completely different atmosphere. Questions are almost philosophical, such as, ‘I wonder what would happen if...?’" Dr Claire Warden

Floorbooks adapt to different learning styles

The adult can scribe for the children to release some from the pressure of secretarial skills during a small group experience. Individual children can record their idea in pictorial form or by writing on a thinking bubble.

Floorbooks collate child-centred ideas

They should be used to analyse the starting points for learning that children are suggesting, rather than adults thinking up random "activities" for children to "do". Responsive planning should be at the root of learning.
"If we are going to consult children, then we should be prepared to change our thinking and actions as a result of it." Dr Claire Warden

Floorbooks are always available to the children

Joint ownership should give children the right to revisit their thinking whenever they wish.

"There has to be feedback loop to the children, so that they know that the process of consultation is actually changing something. In practice, this approach has led to a child-centred curriculum that is based on evidence collated in a child-centred way - a feature that many centres feel is being edged out by paperwork demands." Dr Claire Warden

Learn more about Floorbooks through our Facebook group.

We have a large selection of online modules, webinars and Academy Talks on the Floorbook Approach that can support your professional development and Claire's book 'Talking and Thinking Floorbooks' is available to purchase online.

Image credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography/Inspiring Scotland

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