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.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

March Madness II

March Madness is in full swing in the USA.  The big tournament has begun that will crown a college basketball national champion.   As I mentioned in my last post, I set up a basketball hoop in my large muscle area to coincide with March Madness.  In addition to the basketball hoop, I always added the steps so the children could create their own challenges as they attempted to make a basket.  And as the children jumped, I snapped photos of them in mid-flight.

I would show them their pictures and offer them the chance to draw themselves jumping to make a basket.  Part of the invitation was to hand over my camera so they could use the screen shot for reference when drawing themselves in action.


However, the children did not have to climb the steps and jump for me to take an action shot because there were really many ways the children made baskets.  For example, some children attempted to make baskets from the mat.
For documentation in the large muscle area, I often posted action shots of the children on the adjacent bulletin board.  One of the pictures I displayed was the picture above of the two children on the tippy-toes attempting to dunk the ball.

Because I usually kept the basketball hoop up for two or three weeks in a row, the child saw the picture of himself making a basket when he came back the following week.

Not only did he see himself making the basket, he noticed how he made the basket.  He made the basket by lifting his left leg in the air as he reached up on the toes of his right foot.
In the photo above, he looked as if he was studying the picture and recreating part of the action: the lifting of the left leg.

He then proceeded to go over to the basketball hoop to duplicate the very same basket from the week before.  
To me this looked like what happens when people, who are trying to build a certain physical skill set, use stop-action shots to comprehend and evaluate their moves.

So often in early childhood education we privilege a certain kind of representation, the kind illustrated by the child drawing himself making a basket.  However, by privileging one kind of representation over another, we may not even think to offer invitations for children to use their body as tools to represent their engagement in the world around them.

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