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What it Means to Collaborate: A Teacher’s Reflection

We are delighted to share this engaging post from a member of Richland’s Faculty, Mrs. Kristine Brown.  We are grateful to Mrs. Brown for her passion and honesty in this very compelling piece.

I currently had the pleasure of attending the Reggio Inspired Summer Intensive Course hosted by the Reggio Professional Learning Collaborative.  This five day course is offered as an introduction to Reggio Inspired Practice. The course takes place at two Reggio Inspired Schools and the participants have spent time with some of the schools’ students.Before I continue, I want you to know that I am not a cheerleader.  I think I am a positive person but I am also very realistic and honest (my husband sometimes calls it the “brutal truth”). My point, I don’t think everything is super. With that laid out, I think we can move on.

I’ve have been teaching in a Reggio Inspired school for two years. I love it!  The school itself just celebrated its tenth anniversary. We have a great school community.  It is an animated group of children, teachers, parents, and other members of our local community coming together to create an environment that honours children and their work. But it’s more than that.  Here is where I stumble.  I just want to show it to you, in action!  There is a vibe, an energy that runs throughout the school that is easy to feel as soon as you walk through the doors but very hard to put into words. It is that feeling that pulls me out of bed every morning.  It is that feeling that puts a smile on my face as I greet each and every child, every morning. It is that feeling that I wish I could explain to others.What a wonderful surprise it was to feel that feeling again with another community of learners! Fifteen educators have come together for the Summer Intensive Course.  Fifteen excited, committed, intelligent educators who have been actively involved in every aspect of the course this week. What a gift!  Now it may sound strange to say this, I’m sure you are thinking I’m exaggerating but I tell you, it’s true, that feeling is there! So I asked, “Why?” I’ve attended many programs, workshops and conferences without the feeling.

We are all experiencing a week in a Reggio Inspired learning environment with two excellent guides at our side!  We have… teachers as partners and a community of learners.  We are educators who see children as capable, more than capable, wondrous.  There is a connection between educators and children, and children and children.  We are immersed in environments that are rich with opportunities to explore, question, build, and create.  Explore ideas, question anything, build relationships, and create theories.  We are surrounded by an environment that invites investigation and collaboration.Although there is no “Reggio recipe” I think “that feeling” is a mix of anticipation (what will we discover today), a sense of belonging (I know we will work together), an invitation (come in and explore), and an overall respect for all who choose.

“The construction of knowledge is a group process [that] questions the desirability of predetermined goals, exploring instead alternative ways to think and give meaning to the world in which subjectivity, surprise, amazement and openness to doubt are all important values” (It’s Your Choice, Peter Moss, 2005).

Thanks to everyone at the Reggio Inspired Summer Intensive Course!

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