Saturday, May 20, 2017

Children As Researchers

During the school year I teach Pre-K at a private, play based preschool that follows the educational philosophy of Reggio Emilia. We have been fortunate to have a Master Teacher and Reggio Emilia expert guide the teaching staff and administrators on how to best implement Reggio into our teaching practices and classrooms. At our final meeting of the school year our Reggio mentor ended our session with two quotes from Carlina Rinaldi that emphasize children's ability to wonder, search and learn. 

"Children for the ways in which we have encountered them - are the first great researchers. If we are capable of listening to them, children can give us back our pleasure in wonder, in marveling, in doubt. Children can convey the joy of search and research which belongs not only to children, but to women, to men, to humankind. It belongs to life."

"When your child asks: "Why is there a moon?"
Don't reply with a scientific answer. Ask him: "What do you think?"
He will understand that you are telling him, "You know your own mind and your interpretations and your ideas are important to me."
The you and he can look for the answers, sharing the wonder, curiosity, pain, everything. It is not the answers that are important, it is the process that you and he search together."

Carlina Rinaldi is the President of Reggio Children and Professor of Pedagogy at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. She worked side by side with Loris Malaguzzi in the municipal infant-toddler and preschool system of Reggio Emilia, where she was the first pedagogical coordinator. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Forming Good Habits

Gretchen Rubin is a successful writer on habits and happiness. She has shaped how people think about these topics and is regarded as an expert. Her book Better Than Before is a New York Times bestseller and her two other books, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, were instant bestsellers. Rubin knows a thing or two about happiness and getting the most out of life. 

I learned about Rubin's book Better Than Before on InstagramI was open to reading Rubin's book because I am eager to learn about ways I can push myself to be a better person, more successful and understand my true myself.  I found Better Than Before intriguing because I never really thought too deeply about my habits. Most of my habits have been formed over a long period of time and have become automatic. I generally have good habits which has helped me to achieve success, stability and happiness in my life. As my 99 year old friend Winnie told me one day "Dara, you really don't have any real problems!" For others who may be struggling in different areas of their life Rubin's book might be helpful. Having awareness of how you make decisions and how your choices can effect your life may make a positive difference in your life.

A paragraph I felt summed up the book well is quoted below. 

"Some habits become completely automatic; others require effort, always. What matters is to be moving in the right direction. There's a great satisfaction in knowing that we've made good use of our days, that we've lived up to our expectations of ourselves. The true aim is not to break bad habits, but to outgrow them. With the bright light of attention, we can recognize and acknowledge them, and leave them behind."