choices turn into "I NEED to do THIS"

I NEED to use this camera to take photos of friends.

I am an advocate for lengthy Choice Times every school day for young children.

No matter what curriculum or pedagogy your school follows, there is ideally room in the day for Choices. No matter if perhaps your school has some academic, structured times; or teacher-directed experiences; or specific standards that you are attempting to tie into open-ended authentic learning experiences.

I NEED to use the hole punch - punch - punch.

Ensuring that there is dedicated Choice Time for children everyday is a gift not only for the children, but in turn is a gift to educators who come from a perspective of wanting to partner with children in the learning process.

I NEED to use rubberbands and this GEO board.

During Choice Time, the children direct themselves in or out of the classroom, engaging with peers and materials and teachers. During Choice Time, teachers have the opportunity to listen and observe, photograph, document... and uncover the interests of the students which can help guide your planned experiences or projects for the next day, weeks, and longer. 
I NEED to use this squirt bottle to water this plant.

WE NEED to get some water in our cups.

It is stunning to observe
as childrens choices are motivated by their needs to engage
in a certain way,
with certain energy,
with certain kinds of materials.

WE NEED to roll our friend around the floor!
WE NEED to dig this hole together.
WE ALL NEED to work at the writing table.

WE ALL NEED to listen to Big Pumpkin at the listening center.

Their choices turn into 
"I NEED to do THIS" which is valuable and necessary at that exact moment...

Teachers cannot plan those exact moments - children NEED their own time to follow their own choices.

I NEED to dance to make my kite fly.

I NEED to take a rainbow, tiara-wearing break.

WE ALL NEED to have fantastic parachute fun!
"There is a big difference between having many choices and making a choice." (anon).
I hope your school can offer Time for Choices...
a Time for Choice Making...
a Time for "I NEED to do THIS."


  1. Hi Jeanne - I'm happy you left a comment on Let the Children Play because now I have found your wonderful blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts (I couldn't agree more when you say that you can't plan these things)

  2. Oh, and thanks for sharing my blog on your sidebar - very kind :)

  3. Jeanne we couldn't agree more with this philosophy! By giving the children more choice time they show us the way to teach them ... the way THEY want to learn!
    Donna :) :)

  4. I love the quotes! It is like I am listening to my 4 year old daughter! I treasure talking to her and capturing these moments! I give my daughter choices all the time and this is the most valuable learning, indeed!


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