“The mandala (Sanskrit “circle”) is a basic form which can be found in nature, in the elements of matter, in the plant and animal worlds, as well as in objects and images created by man and his psyche. It portrays a system of order which superimposes itself, so to speak, on the psychic chaos in [...]
Time to return to the always inspirational adventure playground. We already described the essence of what adventure playgrounds are in other articles, we now turn to the reality and details of a specific adventure playground: the Berkeley adventure playground. How does it work? What does it look like? How does one maintain an adventure playground?
One of the more fascinating tasks of being with children is learning how to obtain (let alone understand) the narratives and inner stories from young children who can find it difficult to express their complex feelings in simple language. Symbols and myths have long been a part of teaching and encouraging expression with young children, from retelling ancient fairy tales to labeling all things in a childhood classroom with words and pictures. Children learn (and are educated) through symbols.
By Albert Cullum.
You may know of Albert Cullum from his more popular book, “The Geranium On The Windowsill Just Died But Teacher You Went Right On” a book of poems ironically reflecting on teaching and education from a child’s perspective.
His later book, “You Think Just Because You’re Big You’re Right,” is a darker, more [...]
Warner’s Life, Death and Reincarnation Essay
Ok so first is the birth of the body (the spirit is already born)
Then you are a baby
Next, you are a kid and your right mind comes to you
Then you are a pre-teen and you become social
Then you are a teen and become super social
Next, you are a grown-up and [...]
Here is the presentation from a recent talk on some of the work from Early Futures at the Institute of the Future at Anne Arundel Community College. Will upload full video of talk when it is available.
(Press the play button, then wait until you see two children to be sure the slide show has [...]
This is a summary of notes written a few years back in the effort to gather the pros and cons of starting an adventure playground and for what purpose. Most of these notes come from a variety of written resources (mentioned at end of article).
To those of you who have not heard of adventure [...]
I felt it to be true that children had great advantage in this respect as they are not burdened with the misconceptions and obsolete propositions with which the grown-ups have been inundated by formal “education”. – Buckminster Fuller
The infamous Buckminster Fuller has already been mentioned in a previous Early Futures article as an excellent [...]
(brought to you by the 4-and 5-year-old’s at Bolton Hill Nursery School)
Each year we do a futures unit near the end of their last year of preschool. This year we thought and compared three different futures:
1. What do you wish the future would really be like? (Utopian futures)
2. What do you not want the [...]
One thing you almost always see with a child is their non-human companion: a worn out blanket, a stuffed animal, a funny piece of cloth, a baby doll etc. Stuffies and the like are usually seen merely as a “comforting item,” usually used to comfort or to be held over a child’s head if they [...]
So, what are the questions that 4-and 5-year-olds come up with when asked, “What is your hardest question or what is something you want to know the answer to?”
Here they are. If you can answer any of them, let me know:
Why did the baby cross the road? (Errol)
What is inside the USS Nicholas Submarine? [...]
On the Day You Were Born
By Debra Frasier
A classic, beautiful story which relates each child their place on Earth when they are born. It tells the story of the uniqueness which is that of being a living thing on Earth. I find it to be a wonderful way to introduce (or rather remind) your child [...]
Here are some samples of some of my recorded interviews with 4 and 5 year olds regarding their ideas on the universe and universal ideas. All are excerpts from longer interviews. These interviews were done in one afternoon and seem more related to the universe and to death, a theme they’ve been interested in lately. [...]
The Earth Needs People
By Riva, age 5
I don’t believe that people can make their dreams come true.
We’re not fairies. The fairies can, but not us.
We have to die and turn into a fairy to get our dreams to come true. The point of being alive is to be shot and killed. That’s the way you [...]
Today’s question posed to my small friends was, “What do you think humans will be/look like in the future, really really really far away from now?” The first four drawings and responses were wonderfully reminiscent of the book Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge. In Year Million, a range of possible futures [...]
There’s no disputing that the architecture/design magazine, Dwell, is a vanguard in the war of modernism versus the world. Page after page of spacious, shimmering structures sprinkled lightly by expensive modern furnishings seek to persuade us that Modernism is more than a style; it is a lifestyle.
Dwell’s motto, “at home in the modern world” promises [...]
The following books are excellent resources for practical and theoretical applications of Alternative Early Childhood Education and Futures Studies.
1. Reframing the Early Childhood Curriculum: Educational imperatives for the future, Jane M. Page
2. Educational Futures: Dominant and Contesting Visions, Ivana Milojevic
3. Curriculum in Abundance (Studies in Curriculum Theory Series), David W. Jardine, Sharon Friesen and Patricia [...]
A big part of future studies at any age is understanding the differences and similarities between actual, preferred and possible futures. In order to introduce the topic of variable futures, a drawing project was set up for a class of my Pre-K students. In the first part of the project they were to draw their [...]
After describing Adventure Playgrounds to a group of 4/5 year olds and showing them examples, they decided they wanted to plan a course of action to have their own. We went forward with Part I., in which we draw our ideas of what an Adventure Playground would look like.
Here’s a few examples of what they [...]
If… (Getty Trust Publications : J. Paul Getty Museum) / By Sarah Perry
One of the key arenas of future studies education is creating imaginative relations with the universe. Perry’s book, If… is an excellent example of exactly the right kind of tool to use as a building block. The book takes its readers through a [...]
Adventure Playgrounds (also known as junk playgrounds and work yards) are one of the most intriguing examples of malleable, participatory spaces that engage children, but they are disappearing every year and now in the US they are almost extinct.
The premise of adventure playgrounds is that they “are places where children can create and modify their [...]
The Mouth of the Actual / By Neema, Age 5
“Once upon a time there was a princess and she lived in a magical world. This magical world was in the future. The world is flat and tired, because some war world bad guys shooted some of the Earth down.
The princess moved to a new [...]
Nuclear War Fun Book / By Victor Langer and Walter Thomas / Illustrated by Brent Richardson
The Nuclear War Fun Book is a spiteful child’s workbook meant to give children in a post-nuclear society ideas for something to do: “These are mostly postwar activities, but some prewar ones have been included too, so you can start [...]
R. Buckminster Fuller’s ideas have fully integrated themselves into much of the futurist and architectural arena, but his little known works on education are just as relevant. In Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth he uses pirate history to explain how specialization in education is a form of discreet, global slavery.
pages 22-31 (to view the entire [...]
The Zoom Kindermuseum in Vienna, Austria blows most children’s museums away. Based more on a contemporary art museum or science laboratory then a children’s museum, it focuses on experimental ways to give children experiences with the world. Kindermuseum allows for curatorial ideas, and can choose to bring pieces in from other institutions/people/corporations or just focus [...]
Part of the study of the future with young children is having them imagine future worlds and when they might happen. The following are selections of drawings from a series on imagining future schools.
Drawing by Spencer, Age 5.
This is his idea:
“This is the pyramid school. The sun shows into the star above the school and [...]
By Lia G. Age 5.
“We should love the trees and plants. If we don’t they’ll all die. Then we would die. The animals will die too.
The book is not for me and my sister, it is for mommies and daddies. I want them to read the book so they know about the future because I’m [...]