Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reimagining our Early Years program

This year at BHA we have several professional learning communities operating in unison. I'd like to touch on one of those in this post. The team of five teachers in the kindergarten, plus any other teachers interested in learning about the early years, are currently in the beginning stages of redeveloping their approach to teaching and learning. They're working through the valuable and collaborative process of developing a shared image of child. I was lucky enough to be able to be part of a group that went through a similar process in my previous school and found the conversations both challenging and rewarding.

So far this group has examined their own personal opinions and ideas about children. They were asked to share what they thought a child was and these responses were collated and discussed. Teachers were given the opportunity to highlight which elements of everyone's statements they agreed with and which parts they still had questions or other wonderings about. This required further discussion to unpack and will be useful to re-visit later in the year once everyone has had the opportunity to reflect on their own and others' ideas.

This graphic was created to help make visible the key words about image of child that the group valued as a collective.
The session today was spent looking at these words and talking about what they meant. There were some comments about similarities between words, about which words were by-products of our images, and which words were useful to help support the creation of our image.

The next steps for this group will be to narrow down the words to a smaller selection - we're thinking between 5 and 10 - that truly sum up our thoughts about our image of child. From this list they will map out what it is that they believe they should be doing in order to foster the growth of this image of child in their classrooms (and across the school).

It promises to be an exciting year for this group of teachers (along with the rest of the faculty of course!). We're lucky to be hosting a regional IB conference in November and all of these teachers will have the opportunity to attend workshops that will help grow their understanding of a play-based curriculum. We'll also be looking to connect with like-minded schools in order to share ideas, practices and strategies. I'm very much looking forward to being part of this process.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How not to be ignorant about the world

I had the pleasure of seeing Hans Rosling some years ago at a conference that I attended. His engaging presentation style matched the thoughtful information that he shared. I found this talk to also be interesting.