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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

The Paradox of Pedagogical Documentation

Documentation is the life-blood of our experience as educators working in the Reggio Way.  It is how we show students not just that we are watching what they do, but listening to what they say and how they feel.  By documenting, we provide parents an insight into the everyday challenges and victories that make up... Continue Reading →

Wood Have, Could Have, Should Have.

"So they just play all day?" Every educator working in a play-based student directed environment has heard a potential parent speak these words during a tour.  With the current educational status quo, concerns about school readiness are cropping up earlier and earlier in children's lives.  Some private kindergartens in our nation require five year-olds to... Continue Reading →

Reggio, the Dollar Store, and Transformative Parts

As an educator working in a Reggio-inspired school, loose parts come up in conversation at least once per day.  I have attended training sessions on loose parts and their importance to the Reggio Way on at least five different occasions.  As a semi-compulsive teacher working in a student guided, play-based learning environment, I feel from... 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 →

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