In the autumn of 2013, I accepted a part time teaching position at Centennial College. The subject, the Project Approach. Having worked with projects for over a decade, I considered this to be an easy undertaking.
Working with perspective teachers is a great responsibility and as such I delved into the process of research (more so than usual).
As teachers we are always students. We can never turn away from the need to seek new information, to find, discover and uncover new knowledge.
The introduction of the Reggio Approach in North America has caused a great deal of upheaval in the traditional thinking around the education of young children. There is no shortage of books, articles, polices, documents to support this.
Each article is rich in providing the reader with the underlying guidelines and the how to that are needed to support this type of pedagogy.
The question is, how are educators making the transition and are they truly prepared?
Are the environments ready?
Just as a surgeon requires instruments to perform his surgery, so to must the classrooms be equipped with the tools needed to support the children's theories, to help them seek answers, to pursue the hundred languages.
Beyond this, the greatest shift must come in our investment in relationships; with children, parents, each other and our community. Our need to be insieme!
In being together we must invest in knowing each other.
How well do you know the children in your class? What experiences have helped to shape each child's foundation; family, culture, illnesses, previous settings, do they travel, do they sleep well at night, how did they develop as infants, did they talk later than expected? The list is endless.
Knowing all these things, how then do you use them to support the child in his/her daily experiences?
How well do you know the parents? How do you cultivate the relationship? How do you involve them in your classroom community?
What community support or involvement do you engage in your class?
Do you seek to be connected to a global community? If so how and why?
When children begin in your preschool or classroom, is there a period of inserimento; a time when the child and parents are oriented to school life through visits and encounter scheduled well ahead of the anticipated start date.It is a period for everyone to become familiar so when the child finally starts, transition to school life is comfortable.
In an ideal world, a community should be a place where families grow together; where extended families are just around the corner, where we meet at the piazza for an evening chat while the children chase pigeons. Such is the life of many Italian communities; the reason why I so love visiting the place of my birth. They honor the ritual of insieme!
In most instances, our communities are massive, we are fragmented, during the winter months many climates are harsh driving people indoors, we barely greet people who pass by us, we are hurried.
As such we are challenged to address the importance of being together and getting to know each other.
However nothing is impossible.
Nothing changes without commitment.
The tides of change are upon us.......
So I hold great hope for the next generation of teachers who truly embrace this new way of thinking.
There will be many moments of doubt and challenges.
In moments of deep frustration (which are shared by many), when you ask yourself why you should invest so much, when you feel isolated, think of these words of encouragement,
"You are like a pebble that has been tossed into still water. It ripples and eventually causes a mighty wave."