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By Teacher Sarah

“Question everything!”   Albert Einstein

When your child asks a question, such as: "Why are these ants walking in a line?",  you do not need to have the answer. Instead support your child in discovering an answer that makes sense to them. Ask them what they think, what is their theory: “What do you think the reason is?”, “Why do you think they are walking in a line?”

 Our role at OISCA is to reflect on the children’s questions and interests and support them to develop these further. Asking open-ended questions can be an incredible way of supporting children’s thinking, theories, and emerging interests, for example:

What do you think about……?

Why do you think…….?

How do you think ……?

We will often paraphrase what we’ve heard, followed by a question to ensure understanding. “Let me make sure I understand. I hear you saying …”,  followed by “Is there something I missed?”

Then we can ask “Tell me more about …?” or “What else are you thinking …?” Our follow-up questions and provocations encourage the children to make connections to, and reflect on, their previous ideas, theories and discoveries.


Asking open-ended questions provides children with the opportunity to be theory builders, which supports our belief at OISCA that children are capable and competent. It is not about testing their knowledge, it is about building connections and understanding.


“Inside each human is the need to understand the reasons and the meaning of the world around us.’  Professor Carla Rinaldi, Reggio Children.

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