Closely connected to the playplace we developed exercises that can help professionals (teachers, policy-makers, architects, …) and parents to interpret the video traces of the interactions between children and the outdoor environment. This exercises help to value, read and imagine the outdoors as a learning environment in early childhood.

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Background | Information

A stimulating question invites a closer look. Elsteeg (1985) defines these questions as productive questions. “Productive questions call for action and support children's investigations of concrete objects.” What matters is that the pedagogue is not asking for a specific answer, and the children's observations and reflections are in focus. The pedagouge's approach is inspired by Bakhtin's understanding of dialogue as something fundamental in human life, and meaning is created and developed through dialogical interaction between people -here children and adults -situated in a concrete situation. The key to the Bakhtinian dialogism is that the adult respects the child's voice, that there is a willingness to listen and use the other's words as a tool for thinking. The central premise of dialogism is that any language is half someone else's.  Dialogism suggests that words are formed and re-formed through social interaction, through a creative process of communication.


Elsteeg, Jos. (1985). The right question at the right time. In Wynne Harlen. Primary Science: Taking the Plunge. Oxford, England: Heinemann Educational, 36-46.

Get started | Action

Watch a video. What would you (teacher, parent, ...) do here? What is the first thing that comes to mind? What would you do or say? Try to write it down as literally as possible.

Questions | Initiate dialogue

Tell each other what you would say or do in this situation. Listen to what the others have to say.

  • What would make you say or do that?
  • How do you relate to the idea of productive questions and dialogue?
  • What makes you curious? What else would you like to ask or know?
  • What do you think or feel when you hear the others' answers?


Does this exercise bring about anything? Does it set something in motion?

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