Letter from Dr. Ellen Hall, Executive Director
Looking back over the year, 2014, we can recall many learning experiences, tightly woven in relationships, growing deeper and stronger. One such experience was our annual fall Teacher Inservice Day, a day when Mentor and Intern Teachers, and Administrative and Pedagogical Faculty met together to engage in study and dialogue surrounding our values and our role in supporting the education of both children and adults.
In mid-September, Boulder Journey School faculty met to discuss the initiation of shared research among Boulder Journey School classrooms as an opportunity to engage in multi-age investigations surrounding a common topic:
~Nature (including our shared research with Dimensions Educational Research Foundation: www.dimensionfoundation.org)
~Community (including Conflict and Character)
~Materials (including the Theory of the Hundred Languages)
Shared research groups considered questions, including:
~ What do we collectively know about this topic?
~Who are experts (within the school, the community and the world) on this topic?
~What individual interests, talents, strengths, hesitations, etc. do we have with regard to thinking about this topic?
~What other interests do we have that can be woven into research on this topic?
The shared research group investigating community considered possibilities for research surrounding the overall topic of community, as well as conflict, social justice, character, gender, values, and respect.
Questions generated by this group included:
~What does it mean to be a community?
~How can we work together as a community to change preconceived ideas?
~How can embracing differences and challenges build stronger communities?
~How can we foster responsibility in the individual to support the community?
~What role does pop culture play in our community?
Our shared research on Community builds on years of research on the Theory of Supportive Social Learning, developed and continuing to unfold at Boulder Journey School. We have presented this research at national and international conferences, as well as in publications that include: Seen and Heard: Children’s Rights in Early Childhood Education (Hall & Rudkin, 2011) and most recently, “Recognizing, Respecting, and Reconsidering the Emotions of Conflict” in: Reframing the Emotional Worlds of the Early childhood Classroom (Madrid, Fernie, & Kantor, 2015).
During the Inservice day, individual classrooms composed and shared Declarations of Intent as a basis for their research, making connections between observations of children and the possibilities for research that had been identified by the shared research group. Declarations of Intent were informed by our viewing and discussion of the classic video from Reggio Emilia, “To Make A Portrait of a Lion”. Educators also considered possibilities for the development of investigations that included how to begin investigations with children, the roles of teacher, family and community, and the visibility of investigations in classrooms and classroom blogs.
After a semester of documentation and analysis, classroom Declarations of Intent are currently being revised. Shared research will be presented to colleagues this year during the Boulder Journey School Summer Conference: (educators.boulderjourneyschool.com/initiatives.html).
In mid-January, faculty will once again meet for a day of study, this time with Early Childhood Education and Development Consultant, Speaker and Author, Dr. John Nimmo, who will lead a discussion on his recently published book: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs: A Guide for Change (Derman-Sparks, LeeKeenan, and Nimmo, 2015).
We look forward to another wonderful year with the children and families, and with our colleagues throughout the World.