Our early childhood classrooms have introduced a new way to get children talking about different topics and facilitate conversations. Each room has posted a “question of the day” board that the teachers use to ask children (or in the case of the infant room, parents) questions each day. The children read, or are read the question and then place their name or picture under their response of either “yes” or “no”.
The fun and learning could stop there, however, this is just the beginning. The teacher then uses this question, and the children’s responses to generate learning opportunities. The teacher can have the class count how many said yes or no and then talk about math concepts such as more, less, most and least. They can create a graph to show the same concept visually. They can also explore the vocabulary and define and talk about new words that come up in the questions.
The questions posted by the teachers also lead to more follow up questions. For our example of, “do animals sit on chairs” they could talk about which animals live in houses and have access to chairs. What animals would be too big or too little for chairs. What chairs do you sit on and when and why? The first question has become a launching pad for more questions and discussion.
The questions often relate to topics already being discussed or that will be explored in the near future. The question may proceed a book that the teacher wants to read but knows would be better received with some pre-existing knowledge. The type of questions used are referred to as a leading question, which, differs from the open ended question we more commonly like to ask in the child care setting. The goal is to create a question that has a yes or no answer but can also lead to new discoveries such as:
“Are you taller than an inch?”
“Are you the same as your friend?”
“Do you have a shape?”
“Do cars make noises?”
Questions that get the children thinking in their early years of learning are a great way to stimulate brain growth and development. Plus, they are simply fun ways to get your children talking about new things, it’s always fun to hear what they have to say!