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Educating Innovators
August 12, 2022
To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
-Joseph Chilton Pearce, 1926 - 2016, American author
A book of speeches by Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Emilia philosophy of early education, encourages early childhood classrooms to celebrate spontaneity and support innovation. (Source: Cagliari, P., Castegnetti, M., Giudici, C., Rinaldi, C., Vecchi, V. and Moss, P. (eds) (2016). Loris Malaguzzi and the Schools of Reggio Emilia: A Selection of His Writings and Speeches 1945–1993. London: Routledge.)

Malaguzzi explains that following a rigid linear step-by-step curriculum leaves little room for raising the next generation of innovative thinkers.

Instead of rigid standards, Reggio schools promote "a flexible approach in which initial hypotheses are made about classroom work (as well as about staff development and relationships with parents), but are subject to modifications and changes of direction as the actual work progresses . . . [growing] in many directions without an overall ordering principle, challenging the mainstream idea of knowledge acquisition as a form of linear progression."

Judith Pack, in her article that’s part of the Exchange Essentials article collection, "The Spirit of Teaching," also extols the virtue of this approach:

"Spontaneity in the classroom provides myriad opportunities and possibilities for learning, building relationships, and collaboration…There is no limit to what can be learned and enjoyed.  The teacher does not have to center her curriculum around holidays or ... to rigidly follow the seasons, the calendar, or the schedule in order to ‘make’ interesting things happen. They happen because all inhabitants of the classroom are keen observers: curious, intelligent, and open to all that is around them, indoors and outdoors...Teachers need to resist the mandates to standardize and dehumanize what takes place in the classroom."

Ann Pelo and Margie Carter agree wholeheartedly. In their groundbreaking book, From Teaching to Thinking they write:

"If we believe that children are capable of inquiry and are active constructors of knowledge, then we create opportunities for exploration that grow from and speak into children’s passions and pursuits and their developmental unfolding. And we provide educators with support for reflective, responsive planning. Educators, in turn, engage children with curiosity and attention, with the dispositions of researchers, seeing children as the source of curriculum."

From Teaching to Thinking

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From Teaching to Thinking offers a passionate and thought-provoking alternative to standardized, scripted curriculum, giving educators support and encouragement to reimagine the beauty and wonder of what education could be.

Naturally, children are eager for connective relationships, they are curious, they are thinkers. This foundational text is a pedagogical companion for educators that strengthens their own development as thinkers, researchers, innovators, and constructors of knowledge so that they can pass on this way of being to the children in their care.

Offer valid through August 13, 2022, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time. May not be combined with any other offer. Not valid on past purchases or bulk purchase discounts.


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