"When we begin to value who children are (not just what we want them to be), a shift happens in the way we think about learning and teaching.

   "Our jobs become more engaging and fulfilling, and we begin to envision a larger purpose for our profession.”  

~ Deb Curtis

​​​​​Materials & Resources for Social Emotional and Life Skills Development




√  Invite kids to compare similarities + differences between pushing and interrupting. 

√  Ask kids to explain the challenge of ‘patience’ with examples from their own lives.

When kids pick up the unspoken ‘message’ that we see their ability to come up with actionable answers, they invariably meet, and often exceed, our expectations. Listening with respect is also crucial.

Stretch + surprise


√  How many of you like to play alone?

√  Who thinks it’s okay for people to want to play alone? Why do you think that?

√  Did that ever happen to you? Who will tell us a story about how that felt?

√ Closed ended: Who’s pushing who?

√ Open-ended: What do you see happening in this picture? What do you think will happen next? Why do you think that? What’s another way they could have handled that situation?

Age-appropriately challenging

​​  Challenge aids growth.

 Growth builds the confidence required to take on more challenges - which, of course is a good thing, because life will never stop presenting us with challenges, so a ‘can do’ attitude, also known as ‘growth mindset’ is a definite advantage.

Unpredictability is a form of challenge that leads to sustained attention.  The Kids’ Own Wisdom approach loves to have fun with purposeful unpredictability.

  Practical EXAMPLES:

​√  Why do you think that?

√  Tell us more.

√  Who has different idea that would also work for everyone?​


Questions that invite more than one right answer, invariably arouse curiosity and engagement.

In group discussions, well crafted open-ended questions kindle critical thinking and collaborative problem solving = Premium school-readiness skills.Type your paragraph here.


Helping kids notice seemingly separate parts of life, holds their attention. Also, it avoids being too predictable, which is important for keeping them engaged in peer group discussions.

 “A curriculum is relevant only to the extent it touches the inner lives of our students— their emotions, aspirations, imaginations, fears, resentments, moral values, curiosities, ideals, and their sense of order.” 

√  Why do some people seem to enjoy making others feel badly?

√  Do you know any people who get happy by helping others to feel happy? 

√  How many ways have you noticed people picking on others just because they’re different?

√ What would it be like if everyone was the same?  If everyone had the same skin color? …if everyone liked the same clothes?…the same food?  …the same music?  …the same hair style? … if they were smart in the same ways?