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We’re all aware that asking for help is important. But we’re also very likely to cast off what we’d consider unsolicited advice.
Think of a child looking for a lost toy. You might not even know where it is, but you can scaffold their search: Have you tried looking under the couch? What if it’s in another room? Real learning happens in this zone.
Children instinctively pursue knowledge by actively moving around their environments, observing what’s going on around them, and taking mental notes about what they experience.
By assuming that there’s always more to learn, we can follow the childlike drive to develop new ideas about familiar things.
It’s both natural and useful to take time to explore a task before committing to one path forward.
While children tend to do this automatically, adults may need to plan ahead for their exploratory time. Explore: consider multiple solutions, ask questions that may seem tangential, and be open to discovering unexpected ways to tackle the project.
Adults generally do a great job of applying past knowledge to new situations. Children’s brains thrive instead in unfamiliar contexts, in part because more contexts are unfamiliar to them.
So the next time you’re tasked with a completely new project, don’t force your prior knowledge onto it.
Children not only find unusual uses of existing objects, but they even invent new objects and ideas through imaginative play.
And it makes children more productive in their play by allowing them to achieve the goals of their game without the restrictions of the limited resources at their disposal.
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