Category Archives: articles

A Boat Investigation:Serenity Cove Children’s Centre, Canada

“What started in November with the idea to build a boat led to a pretty in-depth investigation that consumed this group for months,” explains Ocean Kneeland, who runs the Waldorf- and Reggio-inspired playschool in Shawnigan Lake. here is an article about a boat investigation that led to an exhibit.

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Inside the Multimillion-Dollar Essay-Scoring Business

Here is an interesting article about standardized testing written by Jessica Lussenhop.  I wonder how teachers, parents and law makers would feel about the “quality” data they get in return.

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Suing a preschool?

“Suit Faults Test Preparation at Preschool” by Jenny Anderson of the New York Times is an interesting article.  I am struck not by  the academic or philosophical implications or even by  the state of the educational system.  The issue at hand is at what point does a parent become proactive?  Does waiting until graduation to effect change the right answer?

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One Way To Buck The System

Many of us will agree that the state of elementary education in America is in bad shape.  Efforts to introduce young preschoolers and their families to a different way of thinking only to feed them into a frightening system in a couple of years is disheartening to say the least.  Parents are increasingly becoming aware of the disconnect between their child’s learning and the drilling that will soon befall them. Parents have not yet taken a stand against standardized testing, have not yet rejected hours of homework, have not yet questioned the tenure systems used by most schools to keep questionable teachers in the classrooms, but one idea is catching on.  Older children are now being sent to kindergarten and developmental classes are now in demand.  Yes, schools are developing classrooms for the child old enough for kindergarten who is opting out for an additional year.

There are many ways to change a broken system.   Do you think this shift, in large numbers, will make a dramatic or helpful change?

Please read the article by Pamela Paul of The New York Times on the following subject,  The Littlest Redshirts Sit Out Kindergarten.

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Reggio Inspired Network of Minnesota

 

The January Book Study (Reggio Children’s Dialogues With Places) has been moved from Sunday, January 2, 2011 to Sunday, January 30, 2011.  Location and time remain the same:  Open Book’s Coffee Gallery, 1011 Washington Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415.  3:00 – 4:30.  Contact pattiroseloftus@gmail.com for further information.  No fee to participate beyond purchase of the book.  Dialogues With Places is available on-line through Learning Materials Workshop.  We expect to continue working our way slowly through the text (and graphics) for many months.

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Beachcomber Community School: Fanny Bay, Comox Valley

It must be noted that there is no such thing as one answer, at least not where education is concerned.  There are a multitude of students, parents, teachers, learning styles and perspectives.  With the abundance of energy levels, personalities and quirks it is foolish to think that Reggio is the answer for all.  Here is a school that has found a balance between three philosophies to work best.  Here is the link the  article written about them in In Focus Magazine. Here is the direct link to the Beachcomber School.

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CA Senate Bill 1381: Kindergarten Change

After much hard work teachers have finally been heard. Senate Bill 1381 is the change that California kindergartener needs. If passed all children starting kindergarten must be 5 years by Sept. 1 instead of Dec. 2. Click here for the Mercury News.com article. Unlike other papers, this one gives you the background of the  grass-roots efforts made to precipitate the change in education.

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“The Garlanded Classroom”

Ruby Washington/The New York Times

Ruby Washington/The New York Times

The New York Times published an article that questions aspects of the  Reggio approach. The article, “The Garlanded Classroom” by Graham Bowley brings to the fore front both sides of the Reggio in America experience.  Who reaps the rewards of a school framework that values the interests and passions of the individual child?

“A key tenet of the Reggio Emilia approach is that art helps children express their thoughts. Reggio classrooms are packed with a profusion of innovative materials for the children to work with, such as pebbles, dried orange peel, driftwood, tangles of wire and tin cans. “The environment as the third teacher” is a favorite Reggio phrase.” For many Reggio schools the environment is the first clue which exposes the visitor to the drastic difference in the philosophy to that of traditional preschool. It is the belief that attention to every detail of the classroom layout and decoration will help inspire, as well as support, the learning that is occurring.  The classroom is as important as the teachers and children that work within its walls.  Bowley also notes the use of past works made by children. “The room was filled with evidence of another key element of a Reggio- inspired education: extensive displays of the children’s work and descriptions of that work in the children’s own words.” It is said that examples of others creativity, techniques and ideas help to guide, nurture and provoke new experiences for others.  Without the acknowledgement of past work, as well as the current students much learning would be lost.

Bowley was keen to point out the role of the classroom as it is what draws many new comers to the Reggio approach.  Most teachers can say that even without knowing anything about the philosophy the classroom is a definite eye catcher that inspires much curiosity for adults.  This philosophy does cost money.  Teachers must be trained, books must be researched and trips to Reggio become a must. American schools have tended to rely on parents to pay for the trips to Reggio Emilia, which at a minimum of $3,500 per teacher for five or six teachers restricts the approach to a highly limited demographic.  Among other naysayers Bowley points out the lack of structure, the lack of testing, and the question of an Italian philosophy actually connecting with American children.

The article brings to mind the questions: How well is the philosophy researched?  Is it only existing in wealthy schools?  How are the positive aspects of this approach being shared with the greater academic community?  I invite you to read this article, for it is thought provoking to say the least.

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