It's been over 20 months since my last posting in May of 2020. In that time I've had a daughter (16 months and such a spirit!), navigated pandemic new parenthood with my spouse, partnered with teachers and schools to try to muddle through the challenges of the last three years, and shifted a lot about what I want to prioritize and what I want to let go.
I've come out the other side (are we on the other side? can we see it, maybe... MAYBE?!) ready to shift to a more playful, more community-centered, more curiosity-driven, gentler, slower way in my home, in my own community, and in the schools in which I work.
I've been thinking a lot about how to make the most practical work of childhood (play, exploration, curiosity, community) fit with the very impractical demands adults often put on young children.
I've been asking myself lots of questions with lots of mixed metaphors:
are we losing the forest for the trees?
are we putting the cart before the horse?
are we throwing the baby out with the bath water?
Does everything have to be a this or that, an either or?
When big shifts happen in my teaching, and my way of being, they often start in a place of theory. I craft my "this I believe..." statement in my head and then then I ask a lot of questions and make shifts to my practice to better align to my beliefs.
So here we are:
How can we make the real work of childhood the real work of school?
What if choice time and recess weren't the only time for play in the day?
How can we make every part of the day feel more playful, more authentic, more engaging?
What might it look like to use literacy and math as tools for inquiry and play?
How can literacy and math help students do interesting, engaging things?
How can interesting, engaging things provoke authentic literacy and math use?
What would happen if content (science, social studies!) and curiosity and investigation played more of a driving role?
How can classroom community become a cornerstone of curriculum?
All this is to say, Hello. I am back. I'm thinking, I'm wondering, I'm texting Kristi at 3:00 AM Pacific Time with an early morning thought, and I'm bursting into classrooms of teachers I admire and asking, "What if!?"
How are you hanging in there? What's on your mind? I'm looking forward to thinking alongside you all again.
For now, the rare sun is shining in Vermont. The very first daffodils have sprouted on a south-facing hillside, and we're supposed to get a foot of snow tomorrow. We'll keep riding these waves and keep diving in to rethink what our earliest grades might look like, what the work of childhood in school could possibly be, what this whole new world needs right now.