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." 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...?’" 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.
"If we are going to consult children, then we should be prepared to change our thinking and actions as a result of it." Claire Warden
The 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." Claire Warden
Image credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography/Inspiring Scotland