Showing posts from July, 2012

the best things about summer camp

Do you want to know what I love about our Sabot summer camps? It's that freedom to play, to make new friends, or to just take it easy for a while. These days so many summer camps are geared around skill building and knowledge retention. It might appear at first glance that in a play-based camp there isn't much 
learning going on, but of course there is so much happening while children play.
I am in my element when I can set up an environment rich in materials for exploration and then stand back to let the children take the lead.

That is what happened during Tinkering and Like Summers Used to be Camps this year, as you can see...

Maybe we should talk about politics and religion?

Last week, two friends were talking about their religious faith, and how they felt shy about sharing it within some relationships. I reckon it's the same with political beliefs. I know that I feel more comfortable in a community that believes more like I do. However, I know that even though I have pretty strong leanings, I would be poorer if I weren't friends with some wonderful people who believe and vote much differently than I do. 

            This conversation made me wonder if it is the same in the community of our school, which is very,very supportive and caring, but in terms of outlook, can seem kind of homogeneous. I have sometimes worried that people who hold different political or religious views might feel shy to share their stories here. Without being overly p.c., it does seem important to allow for a wide range of opinions among the families in a school community, just like it welcomes children of all different temperaments and backgrounds. And not just …

The Culture of Children

There was a lot to learn at the NAREA Summer conference last week. My favorite parts were Vea Vecchi's reminders that the Atelierista's job is to BE SUBVERSIVE,  and all of the talk about education as a political act. 

Here is my best transcription of some of the talks from Tiziana Filipini, director of Documentation, Research and Professional Development for the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, Italy;

...What idea of school should we have? We look at school as a community of learning, that transmits, but most of all builds culture. You will see how much we believe in the fact that children are already citizens, that their culture has a right to be visible in the city and there is this very important (link) between the city that is giving life to the center (school?) and the center that has given life to the city. It is a beautiful link...

That means that we have to get away from the idea that the school is just a place to assist children, to take care of them when the Mother is w…