This past Thursday and Friday, June 26 and June 27, Boulder Journey School hosted their annual Summer Conference.
Over the course of these two days, we messed about with materials, engaged in exciting conversations with participants from 15 states and 4 different countries, and were invited to share in the journeys taken by children and teachers steeped in inspiration from Frances and David Hawkins and Reggio Emilia, Italy.
We were sent home with multiple questions to explore, engage with, reflect on, and Mess About with:
Question from toddlers: How might we design outdoor spaces to support relationships?
Question from preschoolers: How might we design outdoor spaces simply, incorporating and emphasizing nature that is already-present?
Question from teachers: How might a shift in language from "playground" to "outdoor classroom" shift the way we use outdoor spaces?
What does collaboration mean to you? Is the act of helping another person an act of collaboration? Is imitation an act of collaboration? Is disagreement? Can the desire to connect with each other be a form of collaboration?
How might classroom dramatic play settings reflect our varied experiences in real-life contexts? How might active use of technology support dramatic play?
How might we reflect on the hundred languages of adults? Can we become fluent in various forms of social media in addition to face-to-face conversations and emails to best support adults and families?
Mary Catherine Bateson, cultural anthropologist and author, shared final reflections with us.
She reflected on our current culture as one in which "we don't know what kind of world we are preparing our children to live in.... We have to evaluate uncertainty, adaptability and deal with strangeness.... Improvisation is what we are doing in our lives. We must listen and not dither....
"We cannot make up a list of things we want every child to know. What is most important is sense of wonder... transmuted to curiosity... transmuted to openness... transmuted to joy.
Preserving wonder is a great responsibility."
She reflected on the methods to preserve wonder: "we need to work together with other people. To trust them. And hope is related to trust. We are in a crisis about trust - warning people NOT to trust, not to communicate. You can't build a tower unless you can communicate with the people you are working with.... Independence is non-existent.... It will become increasingly important to cooperate, work together, and share...."
"Like new parents, [teachers] are challenged to learn from your students at all times. [Teachers] must listen, and adjust thinking. You must take the children seriously and learn from them....
What have you taught your parents?
What will your students teach their parents?"