Joy Partnering and Brave Learning

Children need nurturing communities that meet their needs. They require an environment that encourages and supports exploration, discovery, courage, trial and error, imagination, creation, self regulation. Oh and the joy-don’t forget the wonder and joy and the all out hilarity. In this way children can begin to make sense of a confusing world. Adults need/must be an integral part of these communities as facilitators, guides, brave explorers, caretakers and joy partners. This way we make sense of a confusing world together.

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What’s going on here?

An Inside and Outside Classroom.

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Progressive education ( constructivist) is based on scientific theory and research, providing a framework for educators to transform theory to practice.
A quality progressive classroom is thoughtfully planned to provoke and evoke critical thinking in an atmosphere that is both intellectually challenging yet relishes and honors the spirit of childhood. Expect action, dirt and the hum of industry. Project work is collaborative, facilitating the involvement of people no matter their skill level or development. People learn to listen to and to appreciate the abilities and ideas of others. And to learn from them. The educators role is to guide and facilitate the process. Not to dictate or control expectations of product.
Play is understood as being incredibly important and so the environment welcomes it, supports it, and provides extended periods of time for the process. There is no recess. There is no need for it. People are active physically and intellectually all day.

Any questions?

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Democracy in the Garden? Quick thoughts..

It is tricky for educators and parents (adults) to find effective ways  to facilitate compassionate, democratic school classroom communities. Facilitate means guide. Guide. Not dictate. Not exert &…

Source: Democracy in the Garden? Quick thoughts..

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time needed to think …


Time to do this…time to do go to go to art…now do math in groups…spelling time…now eat your go to the toilet. Now do your mindfulness breathing so you can “let it go”. Kids and teachers are regulated all day long in school. Just stop it.  

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Beginning School


What is school for? Is it for sorting, counting, and measuring people to determine which slot to place them in for the unquestioning & optimum performance of a system ?

Or is it a place where people are welcomed, engaged, nurtured and invited to try new things in order to become compassionate , smart and expert navigators in a world that is ever-changing and that needs smart, socially competent and flexible thinkers?

The first day of school sets the tone for an individual’s school experience. A person’s school experience effects their growth and development as social and intellectual beings. It shapes self concept.

Beginnings are incredibly important.

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Did Your Superintendent Send Out a Letter Like This?

Another stunning example of what school is for… standing up for kids and families. Read the Hynes letter to parents

Diane Ravitch's blog

The previous post included the letter that Dr. Michael J. Hynes of the Patchogue-Medford school district sent to teachers.

Parents in the district on Long Island in Néw York received this letter from Dr. Hynes.

The letter is straightforward. It says parents have the right to opt out without penalty.

Did your superintendent say that to parents in your district? If not, why not?

Thank you, Dr. Hynes, for leveling with parents and siding with students. I hope other superintendents follow your example.

Critics of opt out have likened the state tests to taking a vaccination. If the state tells you to do it, you must. The importance of a vaccination is based on science, not whim or politics. Children should be vaccinated whether their parents approve or not, because public health is at risk if they don’t.

But in light of the fact that the standardized tests now used…

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A Long Island Superintendent Tells His Teachers Not to Worry about Scores

this is some of what school is for, learning how to stand up and speak out

Diane Ravitch's blog

The following letter was sent to teachers in Patchogue-Medford, Long Island, in New York state by the superintendent, Dr. Michael J. Hynes. Hynes is a hero of public education. He joins the honor roll of this blog for his thoughtfulness, his care for his staff and students, and his willingness to stand up and speak out. When State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia met with Long Island superintendents to help them understand why they must take a firm position against opt outs, Superintendent Hynes of Patchogue-Medford, Superintendent David Gamberg of Greenport-Southold, Superintendent Steven Cohen of Shoreham-Wading River, and Superintendents Joe Rella of Comsewogue, were not invited. All have been outspoken against the state’s misuse of standardized testing. Gamberg and Cohen did not encourage opt outs, but they both sent letters home to parents explaining that there was no penalty for opting out.

August 28, 2015

Dear Ms. ——-,

The purpose…

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a sense of place

in case you missed this….


What I do know about people and particularly about people who are developing toward adulthood, is that a sense of place is an essential foundational block that allows and supports courage to find out new things. It takes bravery to brainstorm and problem solve, particularly in social groups like school.

It takes practice, repetition and courage to swing out on the monkey bars or among the branches of a tree-or to stand on that skateboard for the first time. You can’t ride a bike without a sense of place.

A sense of place means–where is my body in space and how do I find it again to do the next move..?
A sense of place means…who can I turn to when I am confused, sad, frightened..etc.?
A sense of place means where can I go to count on myself to sort things through?

Especially for the very young (3-8 years)…

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Osamudia R. James: School Choice as Racial Subordination

The opt out movement in New York State is growing strong, and in other parts of the country we are seeing the beginnings of resistance. Please join with others of conscience to oppose high stakes testing..which is  attached to and part of a terrible trajectory to privatize  schools in the US and some parts of Europe. Knowledge and opportunity to learn and grow needs to belong to all of humanity..not only to the privileged.
Learn more here… 
Osamudia R. James: School Choice as Racial Subordination

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Going Up the Slide… No Bullies Showed Up!

Slides , Sand and the Law of Gravity

There once was a place that had a beautiful wood and metal play structure put in for the children. This structure was so amazing with jumpy bridges, twisty poles to slide down on… a wide wide slide… and a zip line. The adults were thoughtful about planting for shade and for preserving a beloved old climbing tree by building the structure around it. The structure took up most of the yard… and of course, it was cemented into the ground.

The children were impressed. They ran right out to that yard and  climbed the tree, slid down the slide, jumped on the jumpy bridge, screeched with delight… and then settled into the real work that children on a yard will do, if allowed….

Here’s what happened…

A crew was formed with buckets and shovels. The task at hand was to fill the slide up all the way to the top…

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