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Finding Our Way in the Forest

This continues to focus on topics Loris Malaguzzi presents in the article "Your Image of the Child: Where Teaching Begins". Loris Malaguzzi is the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach, an approach many feel to be the gold standard of early education. Newhsweek refers to it as the best. early childhood model in the world. His book The Hundred Languages of Children and many of his writings have inspired and influenced my own philosophy of education.

All of this is a great forest. Inside the forest is the

child. The forest is beautiful, fascinating, green, and

full of hopes; there are no paths. Although it isn't

easy, we have to make our own paths, as teachers

and children and families, in the forest. Sometimes

we find ourselves together within the forest, some-

times we may get lost from each other, sometimes

we'll greet each other from far away across the forest;

but it's living together in this forest that is important.

And this living together is not easy.

~Loris Malaguzzi

Seeing the forest for the trees.

Each year I choose a word to guide my thinking, learning, and research. I started

with the word transformation at the beginning of this child-led, play-based journey of education. I used the word epigenesis the next year, another type of transformation and adaptation. A year ago I had the word Fresh on my mind as I started a school year without my own classroom. I offered workshop type classes to the two classes at KBM and then in January started The Compass Classroom. It was fresh, new, and exciting. It truly felt like I was getting a handle on all that I wanted my community of learners to be.

Community. My goal every year has been to develop a community of learners. I started thinking about this word more in June, soon after the compass Classroom ended for the school year. I was sensing a need for community in my own life, sensing a need for community among my co-workers.

I have always valued collaboration. I did my student teaching with four amazing teachers in Fairbanks, who started the first charter school in Alaska, a school of choice. It was there I saw the value in community and collaboration. When making decisions if they were not all in agreement, or one had a hesitation, they waited or did not decide. They included student teachers in this process. They included the students and families in the process. My last assignment was writing my philosophy of education. I titled the paper Finding My Voice. I had found my voice in being a lifelong learner alongside these teachers and our students. I spent the next many years making my voice louder. Now it is time to join my voice with others to create a space where joy, creativity, respect, and responsibility thrive in the classroom. I long for a sense of fellowship around a common goal. I long for community.

When we experience community, we see the bigger picture of all that we can do together and how each one of us contributes to the picture. We see the forest through the trees.

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