Country School, City School

Months and months ago, a fellow educator and advocate for outdoor play in Tennessee sent me a few ideas for blog posts.  As I am wont to do, I hemmed and hawed over them for a long time, trying to find a way to organize them in my mind. With one of her prompts, she... Continue Reading →

Risk and the Reggio Way

In the United States, we have a tendency to treat "risk" and "safety" as antonyms.  Somewhere along the way, educators, administrators, and legislators all agreed that the fastest and most effective way to keep children safe was to eliminate danger from their school environments.  My public education was rife with pea gravel, safety scissors, glue... Continue Reading →

Organic Math: Part II

Rote learning works for some students, but it isn't for everybody.  More traditional methods of teaching mathematics can sometimes be too abstract for some students, which leads to the ubiquitous belief that they are "bad at math."  Because each student engages with mathematics a little bit differently, it makes sense to investigate mathematics in a... 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 →

In Favor of Color

There is a wealth of powerful scientific data that points to the fact that children learn better in environments that are not highly decorated.  Particularly for Reggio educators, there has been a large push-back against the brightly colored, plastic furniture and learning materials that were so common when I was a child. In general, I... Continue Reading →

Organic Math: Part I

I'll come clean: as a kid, I didn't get math.  I was generally able to follow instructions and produce the answers my teachers were looking for, but on the whole it seemed totally arbitrary to me.  I was never quite sure how it impacted me and what it had to do with my day-to-day life... Continue Reading →

From Tennessee to Shangri-la

My uncle recently returned to the United States from China to visit my family.  His jet-lag and our early morning schedule led to quite a few discussions over 5:00 am coffee.  During one such conversation, he mentioned that he had recently been appointed the Program Director of a brand new conservation center in Shangri-la, Tibet.... 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 →

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