Project Description: Dialogue seeds, initial lights, what-have-yous for developing futures oriented curriculum with children. More so this is about what it means to engage with children. Some are completed projects initiated in preschool or research settings, others are notes for further investigation and future implementation.
Uses and Collaboration: The curriculum projects are an open source set of information. Feel free to use and reconfigure any and all information here to alternative uses. Early Futures encourages recontextualization of curriculum to use with all ages in businesses, councils, boards, museum programs and many other learning spaces. We encourage people to contribute their changes and further ideas through our submissions form, so we can highlight further trajectories.
An Early Futures affiliate project, MIXTUM, is releasing it’s first futurist tool (for children and adults alike).The open-ended tool is a circular mandala of symbols, organized in concentric rings, which allows a player to spin for a random arrangement of three symbols. The game is designed to create very surrealistic outcomes, focusing on the combining [...]
“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 [...]
Finally, here are the highlight clips from children who were giving guided reviews of their work to their peers in the Children’s Think Tank. The videos show the range and diverse set of topics and insight, as well as presentation styles, of the children who were involved.
First is two short clips from five-year-old Abigail. She [...]
A talk on future studies projects with preschoolers undertaken at Bolton Hill Nursery School.
Institute for the Future / Anne Arundel Community College / Nov. 16, 2010 (3 parts)
View corresponding slide show here.
View the talk:
Preschoolers View the Future – Part 1
Preschoolers View the Future – Part 2 of 3
Preschoolers View the Future – Part 3 of [...]
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.
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 [...]
Storytelling is the play and art of children. Children use playful stories and daily narratives to provide insight into their life, psyche, trauma, hopes, fears as well as possibilities. Within that, we have an obligation to help them create narratives that include choices and options, to share with us their ideas! The concept of narratives [...]
Futures alternatives can often become obsolete, lost in the landfills, forgotten or replaced by the next ‘new’ thing. However, on that rare occasion you come across an artifact that reveals a lost future, they can be fantastic entrance points for teaching and understanding the inner workings of futures.
Here is a prime example. The Sprites’ Adventures [...]
(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? [...]
We’ve finally put together a full version of the stories told and illustrated by a class of 4-and 5-year-olds at Bolton Hill Nursery School. Early Futures has promoted those stories in earlier posts, but now we present them for the first time all together as a single .pdf.
What We Know About Being Here
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. [...]
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 [...]
It is integral that we purposefully give our child peers tools to keep their imaginations connecting and deconstructing reality and fantasy. When a child can visualize, imagine and challenge the normal understanding of how things work together, they have more control over imagining our future worlds. They also become more comfortable with the diversity of [...]
“For lack of a nail, the shoe was lost;
for lack of a shoe, the horse was lost;
for lack of a horse; the rider was lost;
for lack of a rider; the kingdom was lost,
and all because of a three-penny nail.”
(From Futuring, The Exploration of the Future By Edward Cornish)
A colleague of mine, Yutaka Houlette, worked with our Pre K students (3-5 years old) this past summer and created, with them, one of the best video projects with children I’ve seen.
Yutaka set up a little blank stage for the children in which they could perform their own silent play. They each were allowed to [...]
Inevitably when I talk about implementing “future studies in early childhood education” most people are curious, but unsure of what it means in reality. Much of future studies is merely facilitating tools to respond to, receive, and create change in a system. There are many really simple tools to help children and humans of all [...]
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 [...]
Here is a list of what the future is according to a class of 4/5 year olds.
The future is…
a place where you go
something happening now
a world that is like future aliens
somewhere you’ve never been
somewhere I want to be
something that is going to happen the next day
a place you’ve never been you want to [...]
What exactly should be included in future studies education for early childhood?
Firstly, let’s be clear, we do not want to study, project or pretend to know the future. Rather, future studies is about possibilities – creating radical peripheries that pull the central system away from itself. Ideally, we’d be able to adjust, retract and flourish [...]
FSxK is the name of the Futures by Kids study group with children. I had my first development meeting with one of the potential leaders of the group, Spencer David, age 6. Here is a transcript of some of the things he and I discussed.
Spencer David /
FSxK First Meeting/
H: Let’s talk about the future, let’s [...]
Direction, Decisions and Design all by Johns, age 5 / Computer Mouse Maneuvering by Heidi, age 25
A brief description of this picture /
You are looking at a future world. The purple gradient is the plane of the world. The object on the left is a lamp attached to a rope that hangs in mid air. [...]
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 [...]