The Pedagogy of Being Lost

The forest is beautiful, fascinating, green, and full of hopes; there are no paths. Although it isn’t easy, we have to make our own paths, as teachers and children and families, in the forest. Sometimes we find ourselves together within the forest, sometimes we may get lost from each other, sometimes we’ll greet each other... Continue Reading →

Living Loose Parts: An Overview

After years of working with loose parts, I've come to realize that almost anything can be considered one.  We've all seen the ubiquitous bits and pieces: string, glass beads, basket filler, wood scraps, tiles, etc.  Like me, some teachers take a more natural approach by incorporating objects like pinecones, tree cookies, seed pods, flower petals,... Continue Reading →

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 →

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