Consulting and Speaking
I offer workshops and consulting services for schools and groups interested in progressive, social-constructivist and Reggio inspired teaching and learning. I can visit your school, your district or your collaborative, help you recognize your potential and identify opportunities for growth. Our collaboration can be for a day or over time if circumstances allow. Either way, I will leave you with tools and ideas for your next steps forward in this challenging and wonderful teaching and learning journey.
- 2016 McGehee’s Little Gate School, New Orleans, LA
- 2016 Sabot At Stony Point School
- 2016-2017 Bensley Elementary School, Richmond VA
- 2016-2017 Children First, Durham NC
Though I am able to present on any number of topics in support of those working with the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy, and I am happy to create a session tailor-made to your situation and needs, here are some titles I’ve presented in the past. Most of these topics are also available on a one-time or ongoing consulting basis. Click on a title to see more information.
FOUNDATIONS OF THE REGGIO EMILIA PHILOSOPHY
HELPING CHILDREN MAKE THEIR IDEAS VISIBLE
WORKING WITH THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
THE TEACHER AS RESEARCHER
How you can introduce elements of the philosophy in your classroom. And why there can be no “how to” manual.
The image of the child is often the first consideration when exploring Reggio principles. Having an image of the child as resourceful, competent, and driven toward relationship with people and ideas is essential to the process. But what does that look like? How do you come to recognize (and commit to) that resourcefulness, competence and drive? How does it change the character of the 1000 little on-the-fly decisions teachers make every day? How does it change our interaction with children? How does it change the relationships between children, teachers and families? This is a good workshop for those just beginning to explore bringing Reggio principles into their schools.
Through play, representation and conversation, children co-construct theories about how the world works. As they become accustomed to being invited to propose their theories, represent them, and make their own ideas visible, they develop a sense of agency and the mind “awakens.” The process is cyclical, for the awake mind engages in even more construction of theory. The “co” in co-construction comes into play when the work is collaborative. In this workshop, see what this looks like. Explore what’s involved in setting up an environment where co-construction of theory happens. And consider how to make it happen in your own setting.
Small (and not-so-small) group conversation with children is a powerful component of both co-construction of theory and the teacher’s understanding of children’s thinking at any point in time. How do we help children learn how to engage in those conversations? What is the teacher’s role in that learning? And how do we grow a culture of conversation in the classroom, so that children themselves will propose, in the face of a problem to solve, “We need to have a conversation about that!”? If these are questions with which your staff have been wrestling, this is the session for you.
The educators in Reggio Emilia will tell us that the environment is the “third teacher.” Whether intended or not, the environment shapes children’s learning. The idea is to make the environment a partner in the education process, by setting it up intentionally, consistent with what you believe about children, teaching and learning. See examples, explore how such an environment supports learning, and construct a plan for your own space.
This could be many different presentations, depending on the needs of your group. Documentation is central to this way of teaching and learning, and the process (and product) bring meaning to our time in the classroom in a way nothing else can. Contact Pam to discuss your needs around Documentation.
If you are just beginning (or thinking of beginning) to document children’s process, play and thinking, or if you want to expand your practice of documentation, this session can provide ideas for collecting data, processing it, interpreting it, and presenting it in blogs, notebooks, video, documentation panels, portfolios, etc. This session can (and should) be tailored for your group’s current needs.
Representation has a role in just about all learning, whether it is through spoken language, writing, or, for us in the early childhood classroom, through the hundred languages of children. But how do you help children learn that they can make their ideas visible? How do you support their growth toward closer representation of what they had in mind? How do you help children learn the power and pleasure of representing their ideas? We’ll explore these topics and more in this session.
Children are powerful thinkers. They grapple with large and profound ideas all the time. What happens to people after they die? How does it rain? What makes a rainbow? They not only ask those questions aloud. They construct theory about how the world works for themselves and with each other spontaneously and constantly. They think in metaphor and symbol. We might miss this powerful thinking, though, if we are not exquisite listeners. In this presentation participants will see examples, stories from children’s every day interaction with each other, with teachers and with ideas and look for the deeper meaning, taking a step toward learning to listen for…and read…children’s intent.
There’s a difference between exploring a medium and using it as a language. From this presentation see that difference and learn some ways to encourage children to use music as a language, from setting up a musical environment to encouraging improvisation and composition.
Not every school is able to provide an atelierista (studio teacher) to support children’s and teachers’ work with materials, projects and documentation. In those cases, the classroom teacher must find a way to bring the “studio mind” into the classroom him/herself. It’s possible. And, believe it or not, there are advantages to doing it that way. I know; it’s how we did it for 25 years. In this session we will explore some ways to make it work and how being your own atelierista can change everything.
Explore the power of the social-constructivist classroom to support literacy learning, through examples of children’s sense of agency, their ability to access their ideas and make them visible, their understanding of the purposes of text, their projects and play with written language.
What can we learn from listening for the voices of children in their play and conversation and representation? What can we learn from listening to those voices? In this session participants will follow a sustained investigation by a group of five-year-olds, will witness the teacher’s work to help the children find their voices in the context of the investigation, and will have an opportunity to be “flies on the wall” as the children “speak,” the teacher “listens,” and together they construct a shared world within their classroom.
Investigations in the pre-primary and primary classroom emerge, but how do you convince them to stay? Walk along with some sustained investigations in a pre-K classroom and witness what happened that kept the projects alive. We’ll talk about responsive provocations, ways to tell whether an idea might be compelling enough to support sustained inquiry, the power of group dynamics, the role of documentation, establishing a culture of inquiry and collaboration, and more.
How an Outdoor Classroom can be an extension of the indoor classroom and representative of the local topography, how it can be exquisitely transformable by children and teachers with loose parts, and examples of what can be learned there.
Lessons learned from observing and supporting children’s play and imagination in representation,
with a particular focus on the flow from play to narrative. Images from the children’s representation about imagination itself. The stories of these investigations with children led me to a deeper understanding of the reciprocity between imagination and intellect, examples of the ways in which children teach us, if we will listen, all the time.
Designing A Learning Space For Young Children
What’s essential? How best to use the space you have? What resources are available? If you are embarking on the creation of a new learning space or want to re-imagine the one you have, you may find this session helpful.
You can find a list of some of my previous speaking engagements here.
For further information, please contact me by filling out the form below, and I will get right back to you.