Appreciative Inquiry for Children

Two Girls TalkingDuring the recent World Appreciative Inquiry Conference held In Ghent, Belgium I had a rare moment to myself in between runnning around taking photographs, delivering Tai Chi sessions and attending workshops.

I sat down and caught my breath and started to map out ideas for creating a program for students aged 10-12, (grades 5 & 6 in our primary schools here in Australia).

Before the conference I had some vague ideas about this children’s program and I was inspired when I included a short segment of appreciative questions in our ‘Pozitive Kidz are happy kidz’ program I ran for primary school students recently; it focuses on building self esteem from a Tai Chi perspective.

The children’s response to the appreciative questions in the short segment was amazing as the energy of paired conversation was sustained for the full ten minutes. Of course, I didn’t use the term ‘Appreciative Questions’ – I used terms that were simple, clear and understandable for that age group.

Well, I was further inspired during the conference, listening to various speakers and the themes that emerged.

I decided that, in this new program, I want to work with one class at a time for a longer period, in contrast to the Pozitive Kidz workshops where I ususally have 2-3 classes of up to 50 children in one 40 minute session.

For this program I want to work with grade 5 & 6 students, one class at a time, during a school term and use specific appreciative inquiry concepts to empower them; to make them more confident, resilient and positive. I’ll also use some kinaesthetic exercises and make it fun, so I can engage their interests and help achieve deeper learning.

I’m still working on a pilot program which I’ll offer to a school in term four, without charge, to see how it unfolds.

I enjoy working with adults using our AQ-KQ concept but there’s something special about working with children.

Yes, it’s very demanding and it’s a low paying market, compared with our corporate work,  but the energy and enthusiam that develops once you engage their passions is great.

And besides, making a positive contribution to a child’s development makes it all worthwhile.

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