About Me

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Early childhood education has been my life for over 30 years. I have taught all age groups from infants to 5-year-olds. I was a director for five years in the 1980s, but I returned to the classroom 22 years ago. My passion is watching the ways children explore and discover their world. In the classroom, everything starts with the reciprocal relationships between adults and children and between the children themselves. With that in mind, I plan and set up activities. But that is just the beginning. What actually happens is a flow that includes my efforts to invite, respond and support children's interface with those activities and with others in the room. Oh yeh, and along the way, the children change the activities to suit their own inventiveness and creativity. Now the processes become reciprocal with the children doing the inviting, responding and supporting. Young children are the best learners and teachers. I am truly fortunate to be a part of their journey.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Juneau

I was invited to Juneau, Alaska to be one of the featured speakers at their annual early childhood symposium.  Juneau is the capital of Alaska.  The population is a little over 30,000.  There are no roads in or out because it is surrounded by mountains that go on and on.  Here is a picture of the old downtown with Mount Juneau towering over the town.

I got to do a little sightseeing with the help of someone from Juneau involved in its early childhood organization (AEYC SE Alaska).  The highlight was walking two miles out to a glacier on a frozen lake and walking into a glacial ice cave.  I never knew glaciers were blue.

I was asked to do a building workshop and a couple of shorter presentations.  For me, the high point was the building workshop.  After I presented the participants with a generative framework for building, they could hardly wait to get started.
I am always impressed by the amount of cooperation, negotiation and accommodation that takes place in a workshop like this.   The ideas just seem to fly throughout the room both within building groups and between building groups.

Inevitably,  the participants create something unique and novel.  I think that is a function of the materials that are available and the unfolding of the social process of building.  Here are a just a couple of the novel things the participants built.

One group created a sand wheel from sturdy cardboard triangle pieces that were originally packing corners.  Besides the wheel, they had to come up with the axle.

Another group came up with a sliding incline.  They taped a inclined chute to a cardboard bracket they manufactured that slid up and down a sturdy cardboard tube.

One person even made a snake-like ramp by cutting pieces of paper towels tubes and taping them together.

The ideas are always inspiring to me.  Even more inspiring is watching someone who has never used a drill, pick it up and start drilling.  

I want to thank Joy Lyon, the executive director of SE Alaska AEYC, and her staff and board for letting me be part of their annual conference.  They are doing some great work for the children of SE Alaska and their enthusiasm is contagious.

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