April 9, 2013
This comment comes from Brene Brown in her TedTalk,”The Power of Vulnerability“.
“…Let me tell you what we think about children. They’re hardwired for struggle when they get here. And when you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, ‘Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect — make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh grade.’ That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say, ‘You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.’ That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that, and we’ll end the problems I think that we see today.”
How many of us try to take struggles out of education? I’m not talking about struggles like memorizing facts for a test. I’m talking about struggling with problem solving, or struggling to complete a difficult physical act such as writing letters for the first time. It seems that children are wired for struggle AND they enjoy facing challenging questions, feats, and social situations. Instead of shying away from these struggles, or glossing over them, or worse- solving problems for children- maybe we should be looking at them as true learning! What do you think?
April 5, 2013
Working in a Reggio Inspired Preschool presents ongoing work which is crafted around collaboration, collective capacity for improvement, and deep learning. In addition to that, we strive to incorporate an interweaving of the disciplines in an attempt to fight against isolated skills approach to learning. The NCLE report lists key findings and concludes with an analysis of opportunities for educators and systems to move forward. Read the report and let me know what you think. How can you work to embrace literacy in all aspects of school life?
NCLE Report: Remodeling Literacy Learning | Literacy in Learning Exchange.
November 7, 2012
If you need a short, credible, to the point case for the importance of early childhood education to share with parents, funders, or other stakeholders, check out “The Science of Early Child Development,” a policy brief from the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University. This brief shares five concepts that illustrate the importance of our work:
- Brains are built over time, from the bottom up.
- The interactive influences of genes and experience shape the developing brain.
- The brain’s capacity for change decreases with age.
- Cognitive, emotional, and social capacities are inextricably intertwined throughout the life course.
- Toxic stress dama ges developing brain architecture, which can lead to life-long problems in learning, behavior, and physical mental health.
I especially like to focus on “cognitive, emotional, and social capacities are intertwined throughout the life course” Think about your observations of young children. Have you noticed that you can’t have the cognitive without the social? Can you give an example? Can you make that visible in your room through photos and documentation?
June 20, 2012
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” (Mark Van Doren)
Look at the language you use with young children. How does it assist young children in making discoveries about themselves and the world around them? Think about the difference in “telling/teaching” young children things and asking good questions. Which will assist in discovery for children and for you? Spend some time thinking about how to ask good questions with young children. Think about the message you send to children when you ask them to help you understand their thoughts. You are saying your thoughts are so important, I want to make sure I understand you.
Practice phrases like,
I was wondering…
I think I heard you say…. is that correct?
Would you clarify for me?
Would you explain to the group what you think about…?
What are some other possibilities?
What is your theory on…?
Let me help you think about your …. writing, work, theory
Are you saying….?
I was remembering that you said…
Your thinking is important to me so I want to make sure I understand…
Make note of discoveries- the children and yours. Reflect on the experiences to evaluate your questions. Most of all, practice asking questions with young children as a strategy to assist in making discoveries!