Theories of representation

Batteries in the Swing and Other Theories

I give 3 year old Diana a push on the swing, then step away. She sits contentedly, letting the swing move her back and forth, up and down.

She says ” The batteries are working”.

“Batteries?” I say, “What batteries?”

“The batteries in the swing” Diana replies.

“There are batteries in the swing?” I ask

“Yes” says Diana confidently. “That’s how the swing keeps moving”.

 Cute, creative? Sure. But as an educator what is our responsibility to this child? Diana has conceptualized that things do not move without something making them move. Putting together her understanding of how things work, she has produced an idea to explain the movement of the swing. By connecting what she knows, what she sees, what she has heard, and Diana has constructed a new and  innovative theory.

Carlina Rinaldi says: “Can a three or four month old child develop theories?  I like to think so because I feel that this conviction can lead to a different approach …to the concepts of listening and relational creativity.”


She continues by outlining two kinds of schools:

“On the one hand, there are schools that do not listen ….because they have a curriculum to follow and the try to correct ‘mistakes’ immediately, to provide quick solutions to a problem and not give children the time to find their own solutions. On the other hand, there are schools that believe it is right and proper to listen more attentively and propose other opportunities where (children) could continue to  pursue their own research….”

I know what kind of school I’d like to be in.

About Kim

Kim is an admitted ECE geek. She and Danielle have bonded over their shared geekdom and have come to terms with it. She is a pedagogical facilitator working with educators in a number of early learning settings supporting and extending new thinking and practice. She loves reading, writing, talking and sharing ideas about the potentials of teaching and learning with ece's and young children. ECE geeks unite!

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