Philosophies

overflowing classroom shelves

Time to clean up

Shelves overflowed with piles of games, equipment and donated items, making the room look more like a neighbourhood boot sale than a classroom. In fact, there seemed to be more storage space than floor space.…

A cluttered play environment can make children restless and unfocused. When toys do not lead to deep engagement, children are easily distracted and tend to flit between occupations. Having more stuff certainly does not make children happier and often stifles imagination. Educational consultant Sandra Duncan refers to this as “mental clatter” which has a “negative impact on children’s growth and development – and especially their behaviours.”

Is there stuff in your classroom that just collected dust this year? Arm yourself with more than a feather duster for a real clean! This article is a bold invitation to De-clatter your Classroom.

personal signature

two children building a structure with outlast blocks

Why we must return to kindergarten

Two centuries ago, Friedrich Froebel combined the German words for “children” and “garden” to illustrate his revolutionary approach to early childhood education – kindergarten. He envisioned a fertile environment where young children blossom and grow into creative, free-thinking individuals. Through meticulous observations he arrived at the conviction that a child’s natural play and exploration is the primary mode for learning.

Often, this “children’s garden” becomes the bottom rung on a pressure-packed, test-driven, educational ladder. How can play be restored to this important chapter of a child’s life? For some thoughts from US educators, read this article.

personal signature

child and teacher playing clapping game together

Learning through music

Grant, five months old, attends a nursery where the staff and children love to sing. One day his key worker lost her voice, and she noticed that Grant was fussy and discontented.

“We have all experienced crying, fussy, or sick children in our care who become calm when quality instrumental music is played. They are listening!” writes Elizabeth Carlton, music consultant at High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

“If we sing to our three- and four-year-olds, we will probably be asked to sing the song again…and again. Many listening experiences during the first two years of life are necessary before children actually sing or talk with us…Songs, instruments, and instrumental music are wonderful ways to develop children’s listening skills and awareness of different words and musical pitches.” Read the article

Pete Moorhouse working with children

Memories that last

"You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful, sacred memory, preserved since childhood, is perhaps the best education of all."
–Fyodor Dostoevsky 

Do you remember that teacher who was larger-than-life? A 'big person' who made the little person feel a bit less vulnerable and a lot more capable? Pete Moorhouse does this for children when he teaches them to use a hammer or a camera. 

Here's part of a recent conversation with Pete: What’s so good about wood?
 
toddlers playing

Understanding and encouraging toddler play

Toddlers are more complex than we often give them credit for. What better way to learn about how toddlers think than by watching them play? Kay Albrecht has worked with young children for many years and has a way of inspiring others to observe the wonderful world of "toddlerhood."

Read this article on observing and enabling toddlers' play.

Search or browse our learning library

Filter by topic or type