From the beginning, children demonstrate that they have a voice, know how to listen and want to be listened to by others.

Carlina Rinaldi

We talked earlier this week about how empathy is sown through welcoming difference, but we can only do so through the act of listening. But what does it mean to listen? As Carlina Rinaldi says, listening involves being sensitive to the patterns that connect us to others; being open to the need to listen and be listened to, with all our senses; recognising the various languages that we use to communicate ideas; and listening to ourselves. We can see this in practice at ELC, where listening is the foundation of our learning relationships. Teachers attentively listen to children’s thoughts and emotions – spoken and otherwise expressed – which breeds a confidence in them to explore their ideas, and allows them to be unafraid of making mistakes or of being themselves. Listening is active and reciprocal whereby children can search for meaning and understanding by valuing the perspective of others, whether that entails welcoming different theories or finding commonality in shared interpretations, and reflecting on their own theories in turn. By being listened to, children learn to listen to themselves and have the courage to dive inwards and know themselves in order to live full lives, connected with others.

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