The minds of children are fascinating. They see the world around them through an entirely different lens than adults. Their world is seen with innocence and curiosity – views that many of us have lost as we’ve aged. Part of what makes their minds so intriguing is the fact that each day brings an opportunity to learn, adapt, and grow. The minds of children are a sort of blank canvas that we are lucky enough to help them paint.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
As you likely know, inquiry-based learning is at the heart of Montessori education. One way to promote each child’s natural inquiry is to ask them thought-provoking questions that really get their minds working. These thought-provoking questions should be open-ended. In other words, they should not be able to be answered with a “yes” or “no.”
Asking these open-ended questions will not only fuel their own inquiry, but it will also guide them towards new ideas, improve their language, and give you fun insight into their individual thoughts. Here are some questions you can ask your children to stir up their imaginations and get to know their personalities deeper than ever before.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
This question helps your child (hopefully) recognize their good qualities and be proud of who they are. It also gives you the chance to see if there are any self-esteem issues that need to be addressed. Asking them this question also pushes them to think about the way others perceive them while also helping them build their self image.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself two years ago, what advice would you give yourself?
This question gives them time to reflect on their own personal growth and accomplishments. It frames their thinking in a way that empowers them by acknowledging their triumphs and using setbacks as learning tools.
If you could make one rule that the entire world had to follow, what would it be?
One of the goals of Montessori education is to enable children to become world thinkers. Posing this question gets them thinking about changes they’d like to see within their perceived world, which may be as small as your household or their classroom or as big as the world itself. It also gives them the foundations to begin understanding that they can have the power to make improvements within society someday.
If you could be famous one day, what would you want to be famous for?
Each child is naturally inclined to be better at some things than others. Helping them realize their natural talents is a good way to build self-esteem and help them find their passion. Of course, this question may result in some silly answers, but it can also get them thinking towards the future and the path they want to set for themselves.
What can you do to make someone smile today?
Being mindful of others is a quality that will help children become better adults. Obviously this question helps spread positivity and improve mental health for everyone involved, but it also helps them become courteous and aware of the people around them. This translates to healthy interpersonal relationships in school, friendships, and eventually careers.
Questions like these are excellent conversation starters during mealtimes, car rides, or before bed. Think of some other open-ended questions that you and your child can share ideas about. You might be surprised by what you hear!