By: Diane Kashin, Ed.D, RECE. Well over a year ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Quotes to Provoke Reggio-inspired Teaching and Learning that has been recently shared by my friends at StoryPark and it has received some renewed attention. In my brain’s current context, I am again thinking about quotes but this time, I am looking beyond the giants on whose shoulders I stand. While I am always so inspired reading the words of Rousseau, Dewey, Malaguzzi, Piaget, Rinaldi and Vygotsky I am thinking beyond these pioneers and great influencers. I am currently inspired by the words of those who work directly with children! Notice I didn’t say “frontline” workers. The “at war” metaphor is just not appropriate! These educators are professionals, they can and should inspire us all. Recently, I had the honour to participate in the Fairy Dust Summer Conference with my friend and colleague, Cindy Green. We premised our session, Inquisitive Learners Require Curious and Passionate Teachers on the importance of learning through others as inspired by Lev Vygotsky’s quote, “It is through others that we developed into ourselves”. We advocated for teachers to support each other, to play with each other and to learn from each other. We used the metaphor of a fire to reflect the idea of fanning the flames of others to ignite passion and “play it forward”.
The experience of being part of this conference for me was very meaningful. First of all I got to share it with Cindy, my playful companion who has supported my work and my passions for decades even when others were not as supportive of my status quo disrupting ways. This was a first for both of us as we have not previously participated in this type of online conference, which invites participants to comment and share thoughts and feedback. It is their words that I would like to feature in this second edition of quotes to provoke! On behalf of Cindy and me we thank all those who took the time to comment on our presentation and all those wonderful early childhood educators that we have had the privilege and honour to teach and reach for all of these decades!
“Look for the new”! I have tried to do this in my teaching. I would love to pass this on to my co-workers who sadly seem to enjoy the status quo, or same old, same old. If I can share and help them grow in one area it would be loose parts. I think it would create excitement and help them to be more creative. We need more unstructured and open-ended play.
I’m hearing the call to action, “play it forward” loud and clear. Signing up for the Fairy Dust Conference was the first step in following my curiosity this summer. It was interesting to hear the “chicken or egg” conversation surrounding the idea of curiosity leading to passion or passion leading to curiosity. It has been my experience this past year, that by following my curiosity in early learning, I have stumbled upon my passion. I can now speak from experience of the benefits of allowing children to follow what they are naturally curious about. My own professional development has been richer, more inspiring, more authentic, and incredibly passionate as a result of streamlining my focus to the topics that created the most wonder and curiosity.
“The level of engagement heightens when it is freely chosen by the individual.” YES, I am so glad that I have finally heard this in a teacher training!! I have always felt that when children are able to direct their learning that not only are they more engaged in the learning process, but also they love learning. It made me really reflect on how to set up my students for a successful love of learning.
I think educators’ reflection is the number one thing we can do to help ourselves become the teachers we strive to be. Thank you for giving me so much to reflect on.
Wow I am a status quo disrupter!! I have been so tired lately and began to doubt my passions, listening to this today has given me the courage to continue on for the benefit of our children, families, teachers and of course myself. Thank you for the inspiration to continue on.
First things first, when Diane/Cindy mentioned Lev Vygotsky, I couldn’t help but geek out with them because he has also been my hero/boyfriend/partner in my own teaching journey. Haha! His social constructivist philosophy has been at the core of everything I believe in and strive to do as an educator. The notion of a capable constructor of knowledge within the context of a learning community is at the core of everything I hold dear as a teacher. That is why I love these conferences and becoming a part of this larger community of educators, learning and growing from each other.
Sometimes I am guilty of moving too fast and as I have gotten older I recognize that sometimes I need to slow down and take the time to deeply develop or know the new idea I am so excited to embrace.
I used to be afraid of change, but now change excites me.
I can walk this path as a rebel and may just find others along the way.
Our last blog post about loose parts included an amazing give away from Louise Kool and Galt as an incentive to encourage comments and it has resulted in over 80 thoughtful responses. This time, there is no prize to give away only the knowledge that your words too can inspire. Let’s prove that we don’t need extrinsic reward to share! Please comment with your own quote to provoke!