Last month, University Lake School, Hartland, WI, hosted a conference exploring intersections between the philosophy of the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and the philosophy of Frances and David Hawkins. The conference was held in conjunction with University Lake School hosting the exhibit, Cultivate the Scientist in Every Child.
Keynote, Ellen Hall, Co-founder and Board Chair of Hawkins Centers of Learning, and Executive Director of Boulder Journey School, shared contemporary stories from work in early childhood classrooms at Boulder Journey School to illustrate the intersections of Hawkins and Malaguzzi, the founder of the schools in Reggio Emilia.
Participants were then invited to join breakout groups to explore these ideas in more depth as well as diving into explorations of working with loose parts, natural materials, documentation, geometry with children and many more. One participant reflected that, "The entire concept of “messing about” is inspiring in itself, especially for future educators like myself. I can imagine how magical the environment is when an entire school is based on this concept, but simply putting yourself in this mindset as an educator can transform any classroom."
| || |
Additionally, University Lake School hosted a Messing About Workshop, facilitated by Angela Fowler, Founder and Executive Director of Cultivating the Early Years.
One participant reflected that, "The “Messing About” workshop let me take the exploratory mindset and run with it! I loved taking my “teacher hat” off and seeing very experienced educators do the same. After this workshop, I value a child’s perspective so much more. I can better support the individual child instead of making assumptions about which direction their learning must go or how they are going to use the materials in front of them. I also internalized how “messing about” with materials as a teacher allows one to realize how a child feels when their exploration is put within limits. I understand what it feels like to be rushed within a time constraint, be restricted to certain materials and how frustrating it can be to be directed down a different path than the one I wanted to explore. This workshop emphasized that when educators take the perspective of their learners, they are putting themselves in a position to be the most supportive to their learners and even become the learners themselves."