Kids' Own Wisdom
This project also has a Changeshop where you can read more about its latest progress.
Go to Changeshop: Kids' Own Wisdom.
Purposefully engaging groups of children in discovering commonly shared values, effortlessly uniting them by awakening innate empathy + personal accountability.
About Your Organization
United States, CA, Sausaltio, Marin County
Country where this project is creating social impact
United States, CA
Is your organization a
Your role in Education
The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)
How long has your solution been in operation?
Operating for 1‐5 years
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
Kids need to experience + understand, at the earliest possible point in their formative years,
that they are not alone in their:
√ Understanding of how fairness, hurtfulness, kindness, inconsideration, carelessness, teasing, etc. feel.
√ Comprehension about the differences between between right + wrong, constructive + destructive, healthy + unhealthy choices.
√ Ability to find real solutions that improve situations for all, including, but not limited to themselves.
When these discoveries are shared within groups, through consistent + engaging interactions (as compared to passively being read or lectured to) the illusion of isolation + separation cannot take hold. Instead a solid sense of community in which empathy/increased awareness of others naturally takes root + grows.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Kids' Own Wisdom (KOW) provides 2-part sets of age-appropriate, colorfully appealing illustrations that show contrasting behaviors in widely varying scenarios.
Included with each contrasting illustration: 10-15 questions that consistently enliven + engage groups of kids to think about + contribute to discussions, thus learning how much they all feel similarly when viewing scenes that depict unkindness/kindness, unfairness/fairness, thoughtlessness/thoughtfulness - towards kids, adults, animals, environment.
Questions in KOW don't always stay on the action that's illustrated, because the more peripheral connections that kids can perceive within any situation, the more each situation is connected to the 'whole' of their lives.
The more 'dots' that get connected in kids' awareness, the more they feel connected to the "Big Picture," to each other, to themselves ... thus expanding awareness of the oneness of life = a powerful antidote to treating others as separate.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
TEACHER'S ROLE: Ask ?'s. Genuinely listen to answers. Allow discussions to meander, when constructive, move on to next question when appropriate. Minimal commentary. Zero labeling. (Kids listen to + learn from each other.)
PICT #1: Girl pulling a kitten's tail. Who'd like to be the kitten in this picture? Why is that your answer (WITYA)? What sound is that kitten making? Is that girl thinking about the kitten's feelings? WITYA? What'll the kitten do if she doesn't stop pulling its tail? If you were this kitten, would you want to be friends with the girl? WITYA?
PICT #2. Same girl pulling a ribbon for kitten to chase: Which kitten would you rather be-the one in 1st picture or 2nd picture? WITYA? Who thinks the kitten + this girl will be friends for a long time? WITYA? How many of you have a pet at home? What kind of pet do you have? What do you do with your pet? What do pets need so they feel like we're taking good care of them? How do you make your pet happy? How does your pet make you happy?
PICT #1: Kids playing Hide N Seek- "IT" is peeking: What game are these kids playing? Who likes to play this game? Who likes to be "IT?" WITYA? Who likes to hide? WITYA? What does it look like "IT" is doing in this picture? Who'd you rather hide from - someone who peeks or someone who keeps eyes closed? WITYA? Why do some people peek?
PICT #2: Same pict-no peeking: What's different in this pict? Which is more like playing - peeking or not? WITYA? What's easier - peeking or not? Why do some people peek? I've peeked - have you? Why did you peek?
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
Before people understand KIDS' OWN WISDOM's unique approach and contribution, they compare it with Second Step (http://secondstep.org/). But there really is no comparison, even though they both - on the surface - address social skills, character development, empathy, etc. Second step is expensive and requires formal training, as well as puppets and other props. Another expensive, complex, one dimensional program is Character Counts (http://charactercounts.org/). BUT those two programs are way ahead of me in the marketing arena, which is a strong need of mine. Yes, I'll be putting my attention into that area as soon as I complete this application.
Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
Community grows when kids directly + consistently experience how much they share: feelings, sense of fairness, insights for solutions.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
KOW effortlessly connects groups of kids' to the heart of their own humanity, problem solving abilities + innate wisdom.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Teachers who've used the materials express sincere + solid appreciation for the impact on their class in a variety of ways: First, all students (even the shyest) invariably contribute to conversations, even if they've never before spoken within the group... and not only during the KOW conversation circles, but also - and just as importantly - in the spontaneous conversations that naturally carry over into the 'real life' situations similar to the scenarios depicted. Teachers comment that students take more responsibility for actions and decisions that previously gave rise to admonitions, etc. (Kids start making their own choices about: no longer pushing on the playground, playing more honestly and more fairly, acknowledging the rights of others, being considerate to their environment, safety issues, etc.)
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
KOW has the potential to help create a generation of self-sufficient thinkers who've directly experienced that the best answers for action that work for everyone, including themselves rather than just for themselves, are within themselves.
Knowing they're not alone in accessing those best answers, because they've engaged in open discussions (NOT lectures), has a solid impact on spontaneously bringing everyone onto the "same page." When children discover that everyone has the same automatic reaction to bullying, selfishness, unfairness it diffuses the illusion of isolation and separation. (The illusion that makes it "ok" to treat others like objects.) Knowing that everyone gets hurt feelings, doesn't want to play with cheaters, likes to be trusted, changes everything for everyone.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
I don't feel that I'm the right person to independently manage the business and logistics side of getting KOW into all the right educational locations, nationally and internationally. I do, though, have a clear sense of how that side of things should proceed - one being that no school should be denied access to the materials, based on ability to pay for them. Another is that profits from one level of KOW (first level for ages 4-6), should help to fund the development of each succeeding level.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
100 schools enthusiastically on board with 1st level series - moving into production of 2nd level within 3 months of launch.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Print and package 100 complete sets of the first level of KOW (for groups of 4-6 yr olds = preschoolers to 1st graders).
Connect with, and deliver KOW materials to 100 Kindergarten, 1st grade, after school and child care teachers/facilities.
Create easy, on line website, to support teachers in their desire to blog and compare notes about the results of using KOW.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
1,000 schools - worldwide enthusiastically on board with 3 levels (ages: 4-6, 6-8, 8-9). Moving into next levels of production.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Collaborate w/ grade 2-5 teachers from wide variety of demographics.English speaking countries, then Spanish speaking countries.
Collaborate w/ artists to visually capture relevant scenarios for specific age groups.Compose questions.Translate as necessary.
Create short videos showing different teachers' successes, provide long-term perspective on advantages of KOW approach.
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
The 'AHA' moment came when I saw how much more interested my kids were in their peers than in the adults who awere always telling them what to do, what to think + how to be. I reasoned that groups of kids would respond constructively to neutrally worded questions that opened them up to tap into their inborn ability to empathize (w/out ever invoking that label) while thinking about + discussing age-appropriate challenges around issues of fairness, responsibility, consideration.
Questions had to be asked with authentic respect for kids' own wisdom + ability to independently/collaboratively solve problems.
I knew they'd want to express what they knew (from within) + want to listen to their peers' honest reactions, and that effects on class/life dynamics, both short + long term, would be irreversible. Consistent encouragement to reach solutions this way would help kids grow into conscious thinking (not reacting) individuals (an absolute essential for a healthier world future.)
Tell us about your partnerships
My current partnerships are teachers and education professionals who've tested and re-tested the materials, giving me valuable feedback through every step of the development process.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]
I am 100% ready to begin strong collaborations with the right people. Definition of 'the right people' = clear understanding of the unique approach of KOW, deep love for and commitment to the principles of KOW (respect for and trust in kids' inborn wisdom and desire/need to solve problems that are relevant to themselves, without too much input from adults, unless requested or clearly necessary), excellent business and marketing sense to efficiently move KOW into all the right schools, after schools, preschools, child care centers, etc.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
I need help making KOW available on a large scale - even internationally. In addition to multiple US test sites, I've presented these materials to teachers + parents in India, and the degree of enthusiasm was impressive. India is rapidly moving away from its 3rd world status, away from the traditional values that rarely encouraged children to think for themselves. It's very different there now.
|46 weeks ago Cheryl Bianchi said: Think this is an important concern...to teach empathy, critical thinking, manners in the context of a game is a wonderful idea. As a ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >|
|53 weeks ago Nini White said: The short answer is YES ... KOW has been designed to be relevant, thus effective, in multicultural/multiracial schools. The contrasting ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >|
|53 weeks ago quantumelanie said: Will your program be effective in a multicultural/multi-racial school setting? And is it currently designed to address difficult ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >|
|55 weeks ago Judith Firestone, LCSW said: I’m so impressed with the Kids' Own Wisdom approach, because it enlivens authentic empathy from within children, without lectures and ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >|
|55 weeks ago Christopher Biles said: I totally support 'Kids Own Wisdom'. It addresses the fundamental question as to how to we can engage children in learning and critical ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >|
|56 weeks ago Barbra Cohn said: I'm very impressed with "Kids Own Wisdom." It seems like a simple, natural method of guiding kids to develop critical thinking skills ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >|
|56 weeks ago Chantal Krey said: SUPPORTING, WITH ENTHUSIASM, 'KIDS OWN WISDOM', A WELL DEVELOPED, RESEARCHED AND FUN PROGRAM TO INSPIRE CHILDREN'S NATURAL BORN EMPATHY ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >|
|60 weeks ago Nini White updated this Competition Entry.|
|63 weeks ago Nini White updated this Competition Entry.|
|63 weeks ago Nini White updated this Competition Entry.|