How Far Have We Come?
In recent years, due largely to the power of social media, many educators have joined the Reggio journey. Fueled by powerful images of extraordinary work, teacher's have been inspired to produce similar results. The question is, have they grasped the underlying support system that brings this phenomenal dialogue to light? I call it a dialogue because without the reciprocity between the protagonists (children, families and educators), the pedagogy of listening, the gift of time, the nurturing of relationships, the supportive environment, and mindfulness, nothing meaningful can happen. It is here, in this intricate system that learning happens.
Over the last twenty years, teachers and tour groups have flooded our centre in hopes of finding inspiration to make changes to their traditional methods of working with children. The patterns are the same; one visit, a scramble to view the documentation, the frenzy to take the best pictures, pens scribbling notes, and a few select questions. Then they are off to their own setting in hopes of reproducing what they have seen. I often wonder what happens in the aftermath of these visits. My twenty years of researching and struggling to find meaning, still leaves me conflicted.
The greatest investment must come from a teacher's own desire to continue her journey of learning. No craft can be practiced without ongoing education and repeated experiences. What we do not know we can learn through the pursuit of knowledge. The world is at our fingertips.
I do not hold a Masters in Education. Instead, I consider that after 33 years of working experience with young children and teachers, I have earned a Masters that comes from being on ground zero. I have been fueled by a desire to know the new.
Lack of a paper degree, cannot be a teacher's crutch.
A great man once told me, 'Anyone can be elevated to new levels of thinking, doing and being should they so desire."
In response to the repeated question, where do I begin, I say this;
There is no perfect answer.
Every journey will be different as each teacher is unique.
Examine your beliefs and practices.
Look closely at your environment and the manner in which you engage your children each day.
Make your new journey a mindful one.
Surround yourself with people of the same mindset.
Be patient, anticipate set backs and know that your will never "get there."
Each day brings challenges and change and that is the wonder of the journey.