By: Dawn Irwin
I know what you're thinking. You're wondering how a three-and-a-half-hour car ride doubles in length. Well, it's actually pretty easy. Holly and I were driving back from the incredible NAREA Brick by Brick seminar we attended back in November, thoughts bursting out of us and bouncing around the car, one right after the other. After about a half hour Holly said, "I wish we had started taping this conversation. I don't want to forget everything we are saying!" That comment made me realize how close we were to the only Cracker Barrel on our route home. I suggested that we stop, grab some delicious food, and write down everything that comes to us.
What came out of this amazing brainstorming session is what we like to affectionately refer to as our "teacher manifesto". It is our core values and what we believe are the essential practices that make us the early childhood educators that we are today.
Everything that we do and everything that we are comes down to the proclamations made in this document.
That being said, we also recognize that we are always evolving, not only as people, but as educators. Because of this, we view the following as a living document that will grow and evolve with us as we continue on our journey down the path of early childhood education.
So, without further ado...
Growing With Wonder: The Multiage Approach
- We are a multiage, emergent, Reggio inspired, play based, teacher/child collaborated approach to early childhood education.
- We believe in children, teachers, families, and the community all growing with wonder together to create an environment where all people are inspired to be their best selves.
- We believe that building strong relationships is the foundation upon which deep and meaningful learning emerges.
- We see each child as a capable human being, respect their individuality, and the unique contributions they bring to our community.
- We believe that children are born with an inherent sense of wonder. Through and with their peers, families, educators, and the community, they can grow that wonder together.
- We will do our best to never lose sight of the needs of the community and families we support.
- We believe in a true collaborative approach. Educators and families, families and child, child and community.
- We believe everyone is an agent of change and the owner of their educational journey.
- We believe teachers should always be hungry for learning, growing, and evolving into better, more passionate versions of themselves.
- Educators will always start with the child, giving them freedom of expression while guiding them along a path that leads them towards learning through creativity, allowing for deep and meaningful exploration, collaboration, and understanding of the world around them.
- We believe documentation, research, and reflection are crucial pieces of the educators' role in guiding students towards deeper learning experiences.
- We believe in giving ourselves permission to make mistakes, viewing each mistake as an opportunity for growth.
- We believe in always approaching life with a "Let's Try" perspective.
- Educators will continue to influence each other and the early childhood education field through discussion, presentations, knowledge sharing, mentorship, advocacy, and continuing the never-ending quest to provide children with the greatest educational experience possible.
This is who we are. This is what we believe in. This is where we start from. And we can only go up from here.
Holly Beckert and Dawn Irwin are moms, early childhood educators, and advocates. Please enjoy reading all about our adventures inside and outside of our classroom!