I am an emeritus educator of children and adults and a student of both.
Now that I am retired I have time to create the kind of site I wish I had encountered long ago – one that had practical ideas with nothing to market. Over the years since 1970 when I started learning about schools for young children, I developed resources for early childhood educators and families. I am making available as much as I can possibly put online for anyone to take forward in the way they wish. This site is my gift.
I offer a labyrinth of close to 100 pages. Labyrinth is the operative word. I found that it is not easy to find what I think is the most significant and unusual here. It takes some work, which I believe a visitor can do, if interested. I am trying to revise this into a new format so it is more easily accessible. I have kinda grown roots downward that are difficult to consider all at once.
The content of each navigation subject on the left is briefly explained below to give you some sense of what is inside. Each page has links to further pages, videos, and downloadable files. If you wish to pursue a topic more deeply, you can follow those links into the depths below the grating.
Everything at this site is open for you to use and duplicate. No permissions are needed. You can download anything you wish to use directly, keep for yourself, or give to others. I add or revise when I can, so if you revisit a few months from now, you might find a new subject appear on the left or pages reworked to be more clear.
I wish to put up everything I have developed in my early childhood education courses. My benefit is to get all the stacks off my floor and files out of my cabinets. At this point I am about 60% done.
Next up is the topic of Conversations about which I have many experiences for people to encounter.
This is what I have learned about how to actually change my own behavior to become more authentic with children and act in a way that is congruent with my values.
Millions of people are energized to take action for children. Here are resources that can help combine our efforts to advocate for children and co-construct our vision of early childhood. Included are the 16 Capabilities — observable outcomes for early education — and proposed national values for the USA.
Leadership and Care addresses what is commonly called behavior management or discipline. I offer here the college course I taught for years transferred to the internet. If one counts the pages, Leadership and Care constitutes one third of this site. It's a treat for me to look at the page views and find that some rare person survived to the very end, and I'd love to be able to offer them three semester undergraduate credits. I will say to you, as I did to my college students, that if you do all of the investigations, you will probably know more about tough children than most people you will work with in their future.
Here is a description of a lasting, reflective record of the key essentials for educators and parents to attend to and celebrate! in each unique child. Most cumulative records are dump heaps without a coherent focus. Most checklists and rating scales oversimplify and lose a child's heart and soul. Core Item Portfolios are a deep answer to: "How do I know ...my child is learning? ...ready? ...this school is any good?"
I offer a set of examples of Learning Stories for you to download, discuss and offer to others in order to spread ever more widely the practice of pedagogical narration following the lead of Margaret Carr and Wendy Lee in New Zealand — Aotearoa.
On this page are short video segments selected to promote discussions among educators. No narration is included. People watching them will have differing points of view, so greater benefit accrues when people watch together.
A regular meeting time with an adult and 4 to 6 children can be an essential part of a great school. Here are ways to lead this opportunity and make it play.
I offer one short paper in which I have collected and organized visible actions that challenge one to be an effective instructor or professor in higher education.
This, too, is about adult education. I offer what Kalyn Shea Owens and I wrote applying documentation to first year general chemistry. This applies Making Learning Visible (Reggio Children and Project Zero) to group learning at the tertiary level.
Imagine all adults worldwide — parents as well as pedagogues — altering their inherited habits of relating to children and, in concert with others, co-constructing a more enhanced way of being for their own children's benefit. Here is a path for local, cultural, and community growth — very different from traditional approaches to adult education.
When I learned to structure opportunities with design and mathematics as one whole idea, I saw all children enjoy their own cleverness through three essentials: awesome materials, individual choice, and a community of friends. I especially invite you to explore the section on how to respond to children's designs to help mathematical materials become a language.
In one short document I summarize what I have learned to do with children as their leader and facilitator to structure the school environment so young children, 2-1/2 to 5, enjoy being fully alive in a community of friends.
This is one page from Leadership and Care. I offer this piece up front because it seems difficult for people to find. The document is in the public domain. Feel free to use it. How to use it is covered on the active listening page.
I offer the basics of art as expression with guides to starting to provide expressive art — not crafts — for children. Expressive art requires familiarity with the medium to make it a language of expression. I offer a one page a reference for expressive art to be begun by adults who might see themselves as uncomfortable venturing into this area.
Here I attempt to define educational opportunities as a function space, which is how mathematicians talk about a place where every element is a function; each function is a way of thinking about how something goes in and something else comes out. Those who do understand what the words/concepts/functions signify may now have a way to see how they interrelate giving structure to the larger idea of provisions for learning. Once I grasped this chart, my work as an educator became better focused on the passage the learners were in. Instead of rolling the rock uphill, I nudge the rock where it naturally wants to go. One page is all you will find; the rest is up to you.
Here are four check-off sheets to focus early educators on key abilities that can be observed in a group of children from toddlerhood to common school age. The children are not being evaluated; the adult educator's eye is being focused by the nagging presence of items that are unchecked. The open boxes are what is important here.
The helicopter is an example of a Process Activity, as I call it. When I provided children with at least one process activity per week it blew me away how much it changed the culture and led to interdependence. Boys working with girls and all working with others they usually did not seek out at first. Essentially Process Activities follow a set sequence: demonstrate, freely do, represent. In large group time the leader shows how to do something she thinks all would like to make for themselves — within their ZPD — and simply sets the materials out in free play for the children to use as they wish. No help from adults; the children are the go-to resources. Later the leader reviews the sequence in a reflective large group time, or if the children are capable, the children represent the sequence in oral descriptions, drawings, or photos for other children to follow if they wish.
Here is another Process Activity. Linked to this page is a downloadable chart depicting the steps in binding a booklet that children over age 5 can usually do by themselves or with the help of their classmates.
I intend to share what I have learned on how to establish meaningful conversations with young children in an optimal way.