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Inclusion is an ongoing process that aims to increase access and engagement in learning for all students by identifying and removing barriers. This can only be successfully achieved in a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, support and problem solving.
-International Baccalaureate Organization, 2010

Counselor's Blog

So Many Questions: Practicing Appreciative Inquiry With Your Child

Working at the same place where my child attends school, I get the fortune of having extra time to spend with my oldest, every morning and every afternoon, as we commute together to and from ISDenver. These extra minutes in the car are not something I take for granted. While it means I am listening to the soundtrack of Frozen II rather than listening to NPR, or that my quick early morning run into Target turns into a production of loading and unloading a child into their booster seat, it still gives me precious moments of the most random conversation I have throughout my day.

One of the best parts of these car rides are the stories and questions that come from my daughter's mouth. Today’s five minutes of questioning included: “When I am 80 will I still be your baby? Why will I be your baby still? Will Daddy die first because he is older? Why do I need to have a baby? Why can a bus drive in snow? Why is tomorrow Wednesday? Can I wear a dress tomorrow?” In that particular order!

While annoyed at times by the endless questioning, as I have studied inquiry-based learning more and more over the years, I realize that the responses we give to our children’s questioning, even at the youngest ages, can help or hinder their abilities to be inquisitive learners in the future. I am not saying that I have an incredible gift of patience that lets me answer each of my child’s questions with a well thought out and enthusiastic response, but I do think twice about shutting down her line of questioning the older she gets.

As a parent, we too can model how to be inquisitive learners in our own homes. David Cooperrider coined the term Appreciative Inquiry (AI), in 1986. This theory is designed to use positive psychology to ask questions and overcome challenges in order to enhance organizational structures, or in this case, family structure. There are four aspects of AI, and as families, we can bring them into our own homes to guide our conscious parenting. They are: Discovering, Dreaming, Designing, and Destiny. 

  • Discovering - Appreciating and Identifying what works for your family. What is going really well right now.
  • Dreaming - Looking at what you want to improve as a family.
  • Designing - How will you even go about this dream building?
  • Destiny - Now that you are here, what does it look like? Feel like? What can you learn and improve?

I have mentioned Conscious Parenting in past blogs, which, in simple terms, is a way of being in tune with your child’s needs and your family goals in order to guide your parenting approach. Using AI helps us improve our Conscious Parenting. We begin to include our whole family while we reflect on the positives and the challenges that we face as a family unit. Our teachers are also including AI into their teaching, without always knowing they are consciously doing so. Our children at ISDenver are reflective learners with a growth mindset that they can make mistakes and grow from them. By including our children in how to inquire, we foster a supportive learning environment both at school and at home.  

So while the discussion of with your 5th grader about why they don’t need a phone challenges every bit of patience you have, attempt to use the AI approach with your inquiring pre-teen. Guide them to discuss, what works well by not having that phone? What would the phone allow them to do or not do? How could you design a plan with them to fill the needs that they are seeking? Lastly, take time to reflect on whether or not this idea you created together actually worked. Your child will appreciate having their voice heard while the decision becomes everyone’s buy-in. 

More Counselor's Blog Posts

Dealing with Rejection

How do we prepare our children to successfully experience the emotion of rejection and failure when we struggle to take it on ourselves? We must look at how we can raise a resilient child to face rejection and failure and come out stronger because of it. 

Enjoying The Holiday Season with Your Family

The holidays this year will look very different, and trying to explain that to your children isn't easy. Our Counselor Annie Barocas shares some ideas and strategies for this holiday season - and to start talking about what the holidays may look like sooner than later.

Difficult Conversations

“Imagine the world and you are not in it.” This is how I began my recent lesson with our 4th grade French learners. While the end goal was for learners to understand how it isn’t just enough to NOT be racist, we must instead be Anti-Racist, the most important part of the lesson was the conversation that happened before the conclusion was reached. 

 Starting a Conversation About Racial Inequality With Your Children

Of all the school communities, it is ours who should talk about this. The most important thing is to have the conversations - today and always. And realize that our individual perspectives are not the experience of others. Listening, and learning, is essential to moving forward. 

Parents: log in to the Portal to visit the counselor's corner website, full of resources for all families as your children navigate their social-emotional growth.