Game Changers: New Ways to Teach Our Kids | Aspen Ideas Festival.

Speaker John Hunter shares his thoughts on “the next big thing” in education.  It may not be what you think… watch the video share your thoughts with someone- a coworker, a friend, a spouse, a blogger….


Sir Ken Robinson: The Element | Aspen Ideas Festival.

Incredible video of his talk at the Aspen Ideas Festival.  It’s a long video but well worth the time. After you watch the video, you may want to read the book!  Also, a peek at The Blue School at the end of the video.

Recently, several co workers and I attended the NAREA Summer Conference in Portland.  During the conference, a co worker attended a session that focused on movement.  This is a woman who runs 5 miles every day, attends cardio blast several times a week, and is constantly moving. She knows she loves movement, yet in the classroom she was using movement as a management tool- not movement for the love of moving.  She and her co teacher have decided to embrace movement in the classroom.  They plan to use this next year to research “In which ways do children use movement.”  It will require a shift in their thinking about movement, a shift in the language they use surrounding movement, and  open minds to possibilities.  Maybe by embracing her element, she will help others find theirs.   Is teaching your passion?  Do you have another?  Is your passion a part of your teaching?

Federica Parretti and Peter Byworth
NAREA Summer Conference 2012

Guest Post by Teresa Cole Co-founder of The Nest Nursery School

You know how some people are “good” with babies and some not so much?  Why is that?  I believe it is because infants and young children are very intuitive and they pick up on the very subtle clues in the body movement, anxiety/stress, and tone of voice of adults.  In toddlers and preschoolers body language, tone of voice and inflection can have a big effect on what the adult is saying.  Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it.


After reading Teresa’s post, I found this from “Baby Talk” website (link below):

“Dr. Jeree Pawl, Director of the Parent-Infant Program at San Francisco General Hospital, views infants not as helpless “blank slates” on which parents will create a personality, but rather powerful, idiosyncratic individuals capable of largely controlling their own environments. She cites several studies which support the view of the infant not as a passive creature but as an active seeker of stimulation. In establishing and maintaining eye contact, for example, the baby is the “speaker” and the parent the “listener,” as the parent is always waiting for

the baby’s gaze, and it is the baby who looks away when he decides he has had enough. In this way, the baby brings to bear his own control in establishing communication with his parents. Parents and babies begin communication not only in eye contact, but in physical contact as well. In their book The Earliest Relationship, Drs. T. Berry Brazelton and Bertrand G. Cramer explore fully the role of body language in attaching parents and infants:

“When a mother holds her newborn in a comfortable, cuddled position, the infant molds into her body. On her shoulder, the infant lifts his or her head to scan the room, then settles a soft, fuzzy scalp into the crook of her neck. As she automatically pulls the infant to her, a newborn will burrow harder into her neck, molding his or her body against hers, legs adjusting to fit her body. All of these responses say to her, ‘You are doing the right thing.’ If she leans down to speak in one ear, the baby turns to her voice and looks for her face. Finding it the newborn’s face brightens as if to say, ‘There you are!’ A newborn will choose a female voice over a male, as if to say, ‘I know you already and you are important to me.”


It is fascinating to watch a toddler’s body language as he begins to approach other people. Alternatingly shy and then too forward, he experiments with the same gestures he has learned with his parents. There are few sights more warming than watching a chubby toddler hand lovingly pat a playmate in distress! And in addition to those loving gestures, toddlers demonstrate other behaviors, including often bold-faced aggression. All of this is the laboratory for discovering what works and what doesn’t in human relationships. And young children, like their parents, learn most from their mistakes!”

We can’t forget the importance of the parents in our work with  babies, toddlers, and young children.  Seeing the triangle of child-parent- caregiver/teacher in all our encounters.  Additionally, seeing the triangle of movement (body language)-oral language- and attitude in our encounters. Reflect on “HOW you are saying” things to the children around you. What is your body saying?  Are your words saying one thing and your body another?  ( You can think about this with husbands too!)

For more reading on the subject:

Cuban Artist: Victor Manuel Garcia 1929

Listening looks easy, but it’s not simple. Every head is a world.
Cuban Proverb

Think about the worlds you encounter each day in the life of your home, school or center.  What is the connection between listening, verbal language, body language, and nonverbal modes of communication?  Does that image of “every head is a world” give you pause to think of the responsibility we have to value each person we encounter-children, parents, co educators? Do we reflect the value we hold in our language? Today you WILL impact the world!  Pretty heady stuff!

This is a summary of the book, Choice Words:

In productive classrooms, teachers don’t just teach children skills: they build emotionally and relationally healthy learning communities. Teachers create intellectual environments that produce not only technically competent students, but also caring, secure, actively literate human beings. Choice Words shows how teachers accomplish this using their most powerful teaching tool: language. 

Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning – Peter H. Johnston