I entered into the field of education, on a whim. My son’s cooperative preschool needed a long-term substitute to act as the role of afternoon program coordinator, and they asked me. Those 12 short weeks changed my life! I realized that I was on the wrong career path and, almost immediately, changed my Graduate Program of study from Child Development & Psychology to Education. A few short years later, I was graduating with my Master’s in Elementary Education, and eager to start teaching at a school that supported my educational philosophy. That dream came true when I joined the HBS family.
I believe is that a child’s ability to succeed is directly connected to the learning environment they have been entrusted to. It is paramount that the classroom environment is a learning “community” based on the principles of mutual respect and responsibility, and that children are free to direct their learning. Additionally, there must be a healthy and active relationship between the child’s family, the classroom teacher, and the students themselves.
As a Reggio-inspired educator, I believe that children are competent, more so than many adults tend to think, and that my role as a teacher is not to deliver constant direct and decisive lesson plans, but to create purposefully constructed learning opportunities for exploration and discovery. These opportunities should be based on what my students’ find connections with; a flexible curriculum that is child-driven but teacher supported. Focusing on concepts and ideas that are meaningful to the students themselves fosters intrinsic motivation while simultaneously stimulating a passion for learning. I respect that my students’ families are their primary teachers. Parents can offer incredible insight into their children, and, as such, an open and active line of communication and collaboration with them is, not only beneficial but necessary. Parents should be invited to participate in their child’s learning experiences by volunteering in the classroom, and by sharing their gifts, and cultures with the class. Students should be actively supported by both their families and the classroom teacher but encouraged to use the environment as an additional facilitator of knowledge. In Reggio, we refer to the environment as “the third teacher.” Real life experiences bring individualized meaning to abstract concepts, and the natural environment should be utilized as often as possible to enhance the curriculum. When students are free to inquire, investigate, and discuss, they take ownership of their learning which lends itself to a more fulfilling academic experience.