Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Power of PreK-2

The last week has left me physically and mentally exhausted. After 3 days in Storm Lake for our PLAEA team retreat and 2 days on the other side of the state in Cedar Rapids for iPadU, combined with getting sick, I am pretty much running on fumes. However, that didn't stop me from rolling out of bed and heading over to Kendall Young Library this morning so I could come get some work done in a quiet space.

The discussions, books, and sessions I talked about, analyzed, sorted through, tweeted about, and immersed myself in this week have my head spinning. Sure, anyone's head would be spinning after a week like that, but spinning around one central question: Are we doing enough to utilize the power of young learners in our primary classrooms?

Our youngest learners have yet to be "broken by the system", have not had their curiosity and enthusiasm stifled, and are at an age where they will do or say something every single day that surprises adults - whether it's funny, intellectual, or wise beyond their years. If you have kids or interact with much kids at all you'll know exactly what I'm talking about with that last one.

How can we harness this pure desire to learn and experience the world to help these kids see the true power and impact than can or could have in the world around them? How do we go about assisting them without limiting them with our own biases and preconceived ideas about how the world works?

I'm still pondering. As I said, my head is swimming, but I have some ideas that I'm really excited about. I'm not ready to share them yet, but if you know an educator or individual who is working with young learners to do amazing, authentic work, please leave me some contact info in the comment section. As I continue to work through this I'd like to start curating a list of some of our nation's best and brightest children and individuals who work with them.

I am not an "elementary person" by any means, but these 3 goofballs are helping me realize that the possibilities are limitless, and have challenged me to really think about the kind of education I want my children to have - from top to bottom.

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