Nothing without joy… -Loris Malaguzzi
Traveling on this road as an early childhood educator, program director, and owner of two small schools for very young children, I have sometimes been wholly inspired. In my body, my mind, my spirit.
Other times I have been wholly devastated by lack of insight, lack of understanding. The huge lack of understanding that what we do as ECE professionals is profoundly impactful. It impacts the children who we serve. It impacts the families of those children. It impacts our beautiful Selves. And most importantly, it impacts the future of this world’s community, physical well-being, and the outcomes of our survival.
No really. It’s that big.
My hope with this blog is to help other early childhood educators to become more aware of the impact of the position that they hold. To gain visibility around the incredibly important work of early childhood. And to inspire joy and passion in those who visit here.
The world needs educational systems that honor both the individual and the collective, and that teach us how to cooperate, collaborate, and love one another.
For over two decades I have been a co-teacher, co-learner, director, and artist in many different educational settings. Currently I am discovering and embracing the role of mentor to teachers. As I grow I continue to learn about the best practices of teaching and learning through the relationships that I foster.
Within the community that I serve, I engage in professional development on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. As a community we are consistently curious about the extensive meanings and connections within the work that we do. I also attend many external workshops, focus groups, and trainings in order to continually grow my understanding of this work and it’s implications for the future of our world. Recently I concluded a training by long-time anti-bias activist Katie Kissinger with two of my colleagues. In fall of 2016, I traveled with Tulip Tree educators to the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy to see first-hand the wonder of their early learning environments.
In my 20s, I earned both a BFA and an MFA in performing arts. My background in fine arts profoundly impacts the work that I do within the discipline of early childhood education. Sustained involvement in the arts is paramount to leading a life full of creativity, fostering collaborative prowess, developing an understanding of difference, and being open and willing to accept change as a positive force. My arts background has greatly influenced my ability to remain flexible, and to be a creative problem-solver. I owe gratitude to my incredible artistic mentors, who taught me about growth, change, passion, and difference.
During my early teaching years, I became aware of the constructivist theory of learning. Since then, I have combined my arts background with the approaches of Social Constructivism and Reggio Emilia, and most recently the Anti-Bias Approach to Early Childhood Education. I have been witness to children making connections and forming knowledge; teachers learning alongside children and celebrating their fulfillments; and families connecting to each other and discovering new ways of viewing their children and themselves . The experience continues to be incredibly motivating- full of magic, surprise, and surrender. I look forward to a long calling of being with children and their families, and with other teachers who care deeply about children and our impact as educators on the world.
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