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Posted by on in General

Lean-In.jpg 

 

We also need to keep in mind that schools serve a need other than learning.

Peter DeWitt

If we truly believe this do our actions reflect this belief? Or like a bumper sticker, is this one of those mantras that we claim is important to us, yet always remains in the rear?

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

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A few years ago, the Gesell Institute, named for developmental pioneer Dr. Arnold Gesell, decided to test the premise that kids today develop more quickly than they used to.  They took the developmental norms established by the work of Dr. Gesell in the 1940s and launched a three year study concluding in 2010 to gauge whether or not the same framework still holds up.  What they found, of course, is that even over the span of decades, the developmental norms remain the same.

(Read more about that study and the follow up interview with the director of the Gesell Institute, Dr. Marcy Guddemi.)

While there are many, many quotes from that study’s roll out that caught my attention, one that particularly made me think was when Dr. Guddemi responded to the question of why it may sometimes appear that children are capable of skills beyond their developmental level:

You can train them, but the knowledge and understanding—the true learning—has not happened.  Our country has this hang up that if the child can perform, that they know.”

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

Don’t worry, they aren’t hoarders.

You may be relieved to hear that it’s very common for young people to collect things. Starting from about age 7 through to about age 14 or 15, collecting is a popular pastime for many young people. What did you collect?  One thing I collected was stickers. I still have my sticker books and–believe it or not–30+ years later those smelly stickers are still smelly. (Probably not organic.)

In addition to collecting things, many young people also take up hobbies, focusing their attention on learning a new skill or learning all they can about someone or something. What was your obsession?  Did you attempt to master a musical instrucment?  Did you dedicate hours to the basketball court or hockey rink?  Did you read everything from a particular author or spend hours absorbing the music of a particular singer or band? 

Collections and hobbies are features of the imagination and important learning tools.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Early Childhood curriculum is fascinating to me. There are many ways to provide interesting and meaningful activities and learning to young children. This is compounded by the endless number of Early Childhood educators who have been inspired by one or several curricula, taken what works for their particular group of children, and made it their own.

The Reggio Emilia approach has always impressed me, partly because of its pure dedication to emergent curriculum and how it evokes joy in young children. There is amazing bi-directional support and intermingling between the school and the city that has created a powerful sense of community that is enviable. And then, the fascination is also partly me. Even from the beginning, I was a “loose parts” kind of teacher. I’ve found that turning children loose with “stuff” opens up some incredible learning in directions only they could have imagined.

Every one of my excursions became a treasure hunt for new sensory materials. My basement was stacked with totes and when I no longer taught preschool, I found it ever-so-hard to part with my “stash”… even though it was warmly adopted by several child care programs. (In my mind's eye, I can see many readers nodding right now with mutual understanding!)There are still 3 containers I couldn’t part with and occasionally my husband would ask why I still needed them, but he has stopped asking. Oh, they’re not collecting dust! My students at the college use them to explore ideas for activities and when my grandchildren visit, they beg for Grandma to get out her “magic boxes.”

totes

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

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Jordan knew the moment she sat down to take the test, that her life would never be the same. This little test that they wanted her to take, was to see if any of them had the "aptitude to further their education in a stimulating environment that was able to better help students reach their full potential."

Or in other words, was there anybody smart enough to go to the rich kids private school?

They would have three hours to complete the test. She opened the thin booklet and skimmed the pages that were about to change her life. After quickly glancing at the first few pages she closed the booklet and put her head down on the desk.

Jordan are you okay?

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