Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children's Thinking
About the Book
Questions are powerful tools, especially in the classroom. Asking rich, thoughtful questions can spark young children’s natural curiosity and illuminate a whole new world of possibility and insight. But what are “big” questions, and how do they encourage children to think deeply? With this intentional approach—rooted in Bloom’s Taxonomy—teachers working with children ages 3 through 6 will discover how to meet children at their individual developmental levels and stretch their thinking. Featuring contributions from respected names in the field, this book
- Offers a foundation for using high-level questions in preschool and kindergarten interest areas
- Provides tips for getting started and examples of questions at each of the six levels of questioning
- Explores the use of high-level questions during daily classroom routines and in a variety of contexts
- Recommends picture books that support the use of high-level questions
- Includes an extensive resource section for teachers and families
With the guidance in this book as a cornerstone in your day-to-day teaching practices, learn how to be more intentional in your teaching, scaffold children’s learning, and promote deeper understanding.
Table of Contents
This section includes sample content from inside the book (PDF).
- Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Model for This Book
- Using This Book
- What Are High-Level Questions and How Do They
- Support Young Children’s Thinking?
- What High-Level Questions Aren’t—and Are
- Step Up Your Questioning Techniques
Part 1: Using Questions in Classroom Interest Areas
- Chapter 1: Dramatic Play Area
Chapter 2 : Block Area
Rosanne Regan Hansel
Chapter 3: Mathematics/Manipulatives Area
Cindy Gennarelli and Mary DeBlasio
Chapter 4: A Makerspace in the Science Area
Chapter 5: Writing Area
Chapter 6: Art Area
Part 2: Using Questions During Other Parts of the Daily Routine
- Chapter 7: Class Meetings
Chapter 8: Read-Alouds
- Chapter 9: Exploring and Making Music
- Chapter 10: Large Motor Activities
Chapter 11: Outdoors
Chapter 12: Mealtimes
Part 3: More Learning Opportunities with Questions
Chapter 13: Supporting Emotional Development During the First Months of School
- Chapter 14: Kickstarting the School Year: Exploring Change Through Long-Term Studies
- Chapter 15: Using Featured Materials
- Chapter 16: Multiday Explorations
Chapter 17: Supporting Children’s Understanding About Diversity
- Chapter 18: Making the Most of Classroom Displays
Chapter 19: Documenting Children’s Learning
- Chapter 13: Supporting Emotional Development During the First Months of School
Part 4: Resources
Resources for Teachers and Others Who Work with Children
- There’s a Question for That!
- Anytime, Anywhere Questions
- Reflection Questions
- Resources for Further Learning
Resources for Families
- Questions to Ask About Your Child’s Day
- Questions to Ask During Mealtimes
- Questions to Ask About Bedtime Stories
- Resources for Teachers and Others Who Work with Children
- About the Authors
- About the Contributors
Publish Date: 2017
Inspiring Higher-Level Thinking in Young Children - NAEYC hosted a webinar with the authors of one of NAEYC’s bestselling books, Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children's Thinking. This webinar explores how asking rich, thoughtful questions that meet children at their individual developmental levels—an approach grounded in Bloom’s Taxonomy— extends children’s thinking in the classroom and beyond.
Big Questions in the Great Outdoors - In this article, Mr. Joe has set the stage for ongoing learning opportunities by creating a weekly routine that focuses on the children’s in-depth study of Todd, the adopted oak tree. (Young Children, November 2018)
Conversations with Children! Questions that Spark Conversations and Deepen Understanding - This is the third article in the TYC series about asking children several different types of questions and inviting meaningful conversations. (Teaching Young Children, October/November 2018)
Conversations with Children! Asking Questions That Stretch Children’s Thinking - This is the fifth and final article in this TYC series about asking questions that support rich conversations. (Teaching Young Children, February/March 2019)
Hello Book Club: NAEYC Members Discuss Big Questions for Young Minds by Janis Strasser and Lisa Mufson Bresson - This thread is the second iteration of Hello's online book club. Members were invited to read and discuss the book, Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children’s Thinking.
Looking for more resources on Higher-Level Thinking? Visit our topic page to browse our collection of articles on the topic.
Enrich Your Curriculum: Purchase the Modules!
Higher Order Thinking: Big Questions for Young Minds
The HOT: Big Questions online module provides practical strategies for preschool teachers to use to enhance higher order thinking skills and deepen learning for children in the classroom. Based on the book, this hour-long, self-paced online module includes a webinar segment by authors Janis Strasser and Lisa Mufson Bresson, as well as real classroom scenarios and interactive knowledge checks. Register today to learn more about the different types of questions that engage children, and how they can be used in different activities throughout the day.
Higher Order Thinking: Creativity Module
Higher Order Thinking: Tinkering Module
The HOT: Tinkering online module provides teachers with facilitation strategies to promote children's higher order thinking skills and develop a deeper understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in the preschool classroom. This 1-hour module is self-paced and can be paused and resumed at any time. Come to an understanding of the difference between making, tinkering and engineering while learning a customizable format to develop your own design challenges to do with preschool children.
Janis Strasser, EdD, is a teacher educator and coordinator of the MEd in Curriculum and Learning Early Childhood concentration at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. She has worked in the field of early childhood for more than 40 years.
Lisa Mufson Bresson, MEd, is an early childhood education consultant with Beyond Boundaries, LLC, and coauthor of NAEYC’s bestselling book Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children’s Thinking. She leads workshops and presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences, thriving on the connections she makes with learners— both big and little!—on a daily basis. Since 2008, she has been a contributing author to Teaching Young Children (TYC), NAEYC’s magazine for preschool teachers, and serves on TYC ’s advisory board. She is a former program manager for Grow NJ Kids, New Jersey’s statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System for early childhood programs. Previously, Lisa taught in urban public preschool settings for over a decade.
Finally, a resource to help teachers develop and ask questions that encourage children to think, imagine, and generate ideas! Strasser and Bresson show how to build on what children know by asking questions that support rather than derail their play and exploration. This gem of a book should be in every classroom.
—Beth Graue, Sorenson Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Listening, questioning, and learning are essential ingredients to good decision making. This contribution by Strasser and Bresson will help ensure that educators won’t wait until children are in high school before asking them high-level, thought-provoking questions.
—Vincent J. Costanza, Superintendent in Residence, Teaching Strategies, LLC
As a teacher with more than 15 years of experience in early childhood education, I found this book to be practical, inclusive, and culturally relevant. I highly recommend Big Questions to educators who are looking for a resource that bridges the gap between theory and practice.
—Dawn M. Durham, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Passaic, NJ