“We do a lot of improv here.”
– Buttercup the Hedgehog
in “Toy Story 3”
This is my favorite scene in the wonderful movie
“Toy Story 3.” Woody the cowboy has just arrived
at the home of a new little girl, where he’s been
donated, and is confused by his new surroundings:
Woody: [waves his arms] Guys, hey! Guys, look, I
don’t know where I am..
Trixie: We’re either in a café in Paris or a coffee shop
in New Jersey. I’m pretty sure I just came back
from the doctor with life-changing news.
Buttercup: We do a lot of improv here.
You know what “improv” is, right? Young children
call it “playing.”
When we insist that a song is sung with certain words,
a drum is played in one certain way, or that the sun
should always be painted yellow, we’re squashing their
imaginations. We’re sending the message that their ideas
are wrong, or that they don’t matter.
The trouble is that young children learn by playing,
and when we interfere with that process, we’re
actually keeping them from learning. All they “learn” is
to obey. Not to discover, explore, and construct knowledge.
And definitely not to express themselves and create new things.
It also takes all the fun out of it. As Buttercup, or any child,
could tell you.