People often ask why I don't correct children. My answer is simple. I might be wrong.
I don't assume I know what they are doing because, I might be wrong.
I don't tell them to put their mittens back on because, I might be wrong.
I don't insist that they answer my question because, my question could be wrong.
When I hear something different from the kids than what my understanding is by assuming I am wrong I give room for exploration. We can follow the path through their thinking with the space of curiosity and every time I walk away having learned something.
What do I do if they ask what I think when what I think is different? I give them my perspective. Since we have established a space for exploration we can then follow my thinking with a space of curiosity if they want. Once again I walk away learning something. And sometimes I am wrong.
One of my proudest moments as a mother was when my son realized he had arrived at a wrong answer by adding incorrectly. He said "Oops I was wrong." He followed it up with "Mommy, you are wrong all the time."
"Yes,"I confirmed "I am wrong alllll the time".
By taking "wrong" from a negative experience, one to be avoided, punished to a desired experience to be embraced and explored you leave room for that curiosity, for that deeper understanding.
When I look at learning as a right or wrong answer I don't really learn anything. I may remember a new fact (or I may forget the new fact) but I don't learn deeply. I don't understand where I went wrong, or where I went right. I don't become a better learner just a better quiz taker.
I look at learning as an exploration because I want to learn deeply, I want to understand. I want to give that to my children and the children I work with.
The best part is, you never know what you will learn from a 3 year old.