The Myth of Children’s Music

The vast majority of ECEs have a familiar repertoire of children's classics that they sing or play for their students.  Many of the songs have melodies, lyrics, and rhyme schemes that are patterned and easy to remember, incorporate familiar themes (like animals or family members), and are augmented by hand or body movements.  Songs like... Continue Reading →

Documentation and the Image of the Teacher

Almost any teacher will tell you that pedagogical documentation is invaluable.  Inside and outside the classroom, it has a tremendous number of uses encompassing everything from assessment to curriculum development to perpetuating the cycle of inquiry.  In many ways, honest and meticulously collected documentation can become a sort of guidance system for the trajectory of... Continue Reading →

The Language of Silliness

Treating children with respect is one of the most fundamental aspects of teaching in the Reggio Way.  While it manifests itself in all kinds of different ways, often times the simplest way to convey respect to children is by really listening to what they say, and also acknowledging that what they say is often exactly... Continue Reading →

The Knowledge Standing Beside You

To me, working in the Reggio Way is all about a sense of community.  Students learning in a Reggio-inspired classroom need to feel like they belong there, almost like the environment is a second home for them.  They need to feel respected, free to express themselves, and safe to take risks and make mistakes.  But... 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 →

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 →

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 →

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