September 2012

Investigating Choice Time: Inquiry, Exploration, and Play | by: Renée Dinnerstein.

This is the platform for Early Childhood, presented at the Save Our Schools People’s Convention in Washington D.C..

Educators, parents, and anyone with concerns about the education of young children, what are your thoughts about this document?


Taking the Art of Reflection Back into the Classroom.

As we have had a month or so since school began, we have the privilege to reflect on the first month of school.  What have you learned that will push your work forward with young children? What have you learned about the children in the class?  What have you learned about yourself?  About your co workers?

I came across this on the Institute for Play website. I think it has serious implications for preschool. I was especially struck by the line ”  … it requires the EXPERIENCE of play to make belonging occur.”  As we begin the school year, striving to create a classroom where children develop a sense of belonging, it behooves us to look seriously at play!

“The urge to play with others, in addition to being fun, is often driven by the desire to be accepted, to belong.

Kids start this process by “parallel” play, i. e,without much consciousness of the feelings or status of the play partner, But as development proceeds, friendships happen,  empathy for another is felt, with mutual play as the crucible in which it becomes refined. Group loyalty and affection ensues, and with it the rudiments of a functioning community. And there is a fledgling science that the NIFP believes would find benefits by looking more deeply into this.  In animals, affiliative play appears to be kindled by the release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters, but it requires the experience of play to make “belonging” occur. This area of investigation may well have implications for violence prevention an other aspects of social well-being.”

Sutton-Smith, B. (1976) Current research and theory on play, games and sports.  In T. Craig(ED) The humanistic and mental health aspects of sports, exercise, and recreation. Chicago, American Medical Assn.

Opie. I. (1993) The People in the Playground. New York, Oxford Univ. Press

Iacoboni, M., “Understanding others: imitation, language, empathy” In: Perspectives on imitation: from cognitive neuroscience to social science, Hurley, S., and Chater, N. (Eds), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press


It would be hard to trust gardening advice from someone whose own garden was an overgrown weed patch,” observes Nancy Rosenow in the opening of the newest book in the Exchange Store, Heart-Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature.  Rosenow continues…

How can we help children see the world is a place of goodness and unlimited possibilities if we experience it as dreary and stifling?  How can children trust us about the benefits of healthy eating and exercise if they don’t choose to practice what we preach?  How will we help children learn the difficult art of conflict resolution if bitter conflicts in our own relationships remain unresolved?  How can we help children discover nature’s gifts of joy and wonder if we rarely delight in those gifts ourselves?  And perhaps the hardest question of all:  How will we help children experience themselves as unconditionally loved and loving beings if we don’t feel unconditionally loving toward ourselves?”

     Words that are Speaking to Me « TWO WRITING TEACHERS.


New school year: doubling down on failed ed policy – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post.

How can we push educational systems to learn from mistakes?  How can we voice our concern?  How do we make the children more important than the test? Are we brave enough?  Do we value our (collective) children enough to speak up for them? Do we value educators?  Can we step up to the task of advocating for them?


Raising Successful Children –

Why is it so hard to let children struggle with things?

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