Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/curriculum-that-goes-beyond-topical-themes/5010884/Two classrooms I visited were mirror images of each other. Primary colors gleamed from an array of shelves, chairs, table tops, and learning toys around the room. Commercial cutouts filled the bulletin boards and hung from the ceiling. The schedule was like clockwork, just like it said in the little square boxes of the lesson plans on the wall.
Only in Doreen and Martha's room was there what I call engaged activity. Children were in clumps here and there, working puzzles, reading in the loft, playing with Legos, and building elaborate structures on the rug. There was a remarkable conversation between three girls at the sensory table, with mounds of sand being sculptured to match the tales these four year olds were spinning.
Neither Doreen nor Martha seemed to notice much of what I observed. One of them was at the sink trying to remove dried up glue from paintbrushes, while the other tended to some paperwork that apparently had to be completed by the end of the day.
This classroom has what my colleague Deb Curtis calls "benign neglect." We argue about the value of this. She thinks kids do better when adults aren't ...