Over the past year or so, I've had the opportunity to spend time in the Toddler program at Columbus House Renfrew. The educators in this space at the time, Cheryl and Brooke, displayed a thoughtful approach to the selection and use of materials in their program. Read on to hear their perspectives and how this connects to a powerful text on environments and materials entitled Designs for Living and Learning.
Many Educators in our area have been thinking really deeply in relation to their practices and the materials they offer children. In our sessions with Lorrie Baird, we came to understand that loose parts and open-ended materials truly do “meet up with children’s lively minds”. Whereas, plastic toys with one or two functions (although deemed fun and attractive initially) simply do not offer children comparable opportunities for curiosity, exploration, or ingenuity...
Have you ever heard of ‘flow research’? It is a body of work that Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has been exploring for much of his professional life. According to Csikszentmihalyi, ‘flow’ is similar to what we might describe as being ‘in the zone’ or “being completely involved in an activity for it’s own sake…time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and your using your skills to the utmost”. He describes ‘flow’ as a state that can be experienced when an activity is both: appropriately challenging to one’s skill level and is also genuinely rewarding.
As many of us know, the common phrase is: ‘the environment acts as a third teacher’ in our everyday practice.
Over the past several months, I have witnessed some major environmental shifts in a local EarlyON Child and Family Centre at the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre. This sparked an idea for me: I want to learn more about how and why these changes were made, as well as gain a deeper understanding of the impacts of this important work. As a next step, I asked the RECE if she would be open to sharing the transformation with me and she was more than thrilled to reflect and discuss this together. Here are some photos of her transformed space.
This week, my team and I engaged in a deep, thoughtful conversation about Section 3 of Deb Curtis’ book: Really Seeing Children (2017). At one point, we specifically discussed something we might rarely or never think about: How do children ‘see’ us? What do they know or believe about us? What kind of messages are we sending out to the World around us? How might those messages impact others? As you can see…plenty of ‘food for thought’!
On Monday, Lorrie invited us to think deeply about the way we communicate with children. She introduced us to the concept of ‘Enterprise Talk’–or, communication that involves no directions, no questions, and no praise. When introduced, my first thought (and I’m sure others may have thought the same) was “What else is there to say?”.
The creators of this site believe that there are some *really* important things happening right here-in Renfrew County-and we want to share it! We also believe there are some *really* important things happening throughout Ontario and around the World…and we want to share that as well!