Emergent Curriculum: The Art of Letting Go

It isn't hard to imagine how Emergent Curriculum and the Reggio Way might go hand-in-hand.  Letting students determine what they learn helps them feel empowered to direct the course of their own learning.  It often confuses me that there aren't more schools out there that just bluntly ask students what they want to learn about. ... Continue Reading →

Round and Round

Reggio educators often talk about defining learning in terms of a journey instead of assessing it based on the achievement of a predetermined goal.  And while it sounds like a noble pursuit, process-focused teaching methods can sometimes cause tremendous discomfort for teachers (myself included).  Determining the efficacy of our teaching methods without a determinant start... Continue Reading →

Reggio, Citizenship, and the Power of Difference

The Reggio Way isn't quite like other educational philosophies.  While it shares commonalities with many other approaches to learning, it holds the importance of citizenship as one of its core tenants.  Facilitating the mental and physical growth of students in a safe and inviting environment is the ultimate goal, but the method by which such... Continue Reading →

The Intangible Third Teacher

When I first started working in the Reggio Way, "environment" was a word that felt hopelessly vague to me.  Time after time, I floundered through discussions centered on "environment as the third teacher" that seemed to incorporate nearly everything.  With only a few years of experience under my belt, I have heard the word used... Continue Reading →

A.C.E. and The Right to Learn

It is common practice for many private kindergartens to interview children as part of their admission process.  While part of the focus of these interviews is to evaluate the academic acumen of the applicant, many interviewers also subject children to a variety of situations designed to test their ability to handle stress, regulate their emotions,... Continue Reading →

In Pursuit of a Strenuous Life

On April 10th, 1899, Theodore Roosevelt Jr. gave a speech in which he reflected upon what he believed to be the ideal American lifestyle: "I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest... Continue Reading →

Re: Forest Bathing

When concepts cross cultural boundaries, they rarely survive intact. In 1892, Swami Vivekananda introduced a form of physical, mental, and spiritual exercise called "yoga" in the United States.  Needless to say, the hot yoga, restorative yoga, and yin yoga practiced by an estimated 36.7 million people in the US are entirely different than what Vivekananda practiced in the... Continue Reading →

“Dirty” is a Compliment

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on a big pile of mulch with one of my students just watching the clouds go by.  Without any prompting, she turned to me and said, "I'm a dirty robot."  Admittedly, I had a little trouble imagining what a "dirty robot" might be.  But as I sat on... Continue Reading →

Wabi-Sabi and Being with Sadness

Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a Japanese aesthetic mindset focused on the beauty of impermanence and imperfection.  It is inspired by the teachings of Buddhism, particularly the tenant associated with the fleeting nature of our world (mujo 無常).  In Japan, it is visible in the architecture of tea houses, rock gardens, flower arrangement, cuisine, and thousands of other art forms... Continue Reading →

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