How To Grow Lifelong Learners

After reading a thoughtful and inspiring post about community building on my Reggio Emilia (an Italian model preschool program) email list. I began thinking about the community building projects that I have presided over through the years. They all had the same basic components and similar outcomes. When you honor everyone’s choice or idea in a group event and then use those ideas to create something cooperatively it is powerfully symbolic. It will make impressions in children’s minds like seeds that stick and grow. With thoughtful planning these shared events gives the teacher a wonderful tool to create community. It can take so many forms.

What I mean by thoughtful planning is that these ingredients are present to some degree: each child/family has input initially, the whole group has access and encouragement to work with the materials and ideas, and the process is discussed, documented, and displayed in some form to be revisited. I have done this many times with many ideas, as a one day process where the whole class made a book about something that happened that day, or over months long processes that are documented in many ways. If you have the three ingredients it will be an effective tool for community building. It will take root in the minds of many if not all of the children and create a model for belonging they can carry with them through life. “I am a participant in the learning process, and a contributing member of a learning community.” To plant this seed is one of our sacred tasks as early childhood educators.

This entry was posted in All part of the process, developing relationships, my life, Teaching and Learning, thinking in words, working world and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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