Friday, 2 August 2013

saving traces of a most incredible week

Gifts from the ReggioPLC community at the end of our week. These will have a treasured spot in my classroom when I return.

 Last week I had the good fortune to attend what I can only describe as the most meaningful professional learning opportunity I have ever taken part in. Friends who follow me through social media no doubt already know what an amazing time it was, as they have watched the week unfold through twitter pics and snippets of conversations shared on vine. Anticipation started months ago when Diane Kashin and Louise Jupp, two people I respect and admire (and follow through various social media), posted the flyer for their new "Introduction to Reggio Inspired Practice" Summer Intensive on their blog.

Friday, one week ago, I was saying goodbye to a group of friends I'd only made acquaintance with (in most cases) on that Monday. Some in the group were friends already, but I simply hadn't yet met face-to-face: such is the power of a good twitter PLN. Diane and Louise felt like friends already, from conversations shared about deeply held convictions, both on their Technology Rich Inquiry Based Research blog, and on twitter. Their though-provoking blog, Pinterest boards and tweets are the way I continue my learning which simply couldn't come to an end when I finished my K Specialist AQ this spring. Also in the group, Julie: a PD friend who also took that K Specialist course with me and who is uniquely linked to my students, class, and K team: "Miss Metcalfe" taught in room 109 until last year when I moved in. Her junior students, who became my seniors, loved for me to share photos and stories with their beloved teacher. Another friendly face was recognizable: Helen and I met when she attended the "Sticks and Stones: Collaboration with Nature" workshop that I co-presented at the Peel Kindergarten Conference back in May. As a testament to the way that the learning unfolding, I felt as though I had known all the participants for ages when the week came to a close.

For me, summer home with the kids has meant road trips, visits, and many little outings to the beach, pool, or parks nearby each day. I am not yet ready to sit down with all the photos from the week, to tell the stories in a way that does justice to how beautiful and affirming this course was. I do, however, have a picture story to share. The final day's activity was creating and sharing documentation, and that is what I will share here. I've edited a few pages for errors or where omissions were obvious, but left most intact as it was created on the fly in our busy classroom last Friday. It surprised me to re-read it today and see so few pictures of the coordinators of our course. I now think that it reflects how well Diane and Louse embody the practice that they wished to impart: learners and teachers co-constructing learning through shared experiences, not a one-way transmission of ideas from those with all the answers. I was also struck by how I managed to tell an intensely personal story, when I worked to document my own learning as opposed to that of my Kindergarten students. It was difficult to say goodbye when it all felt so much like home, and that came through in my pic collage story. Here, then, is a glimpse into my learning from the first Reggio Inspired Practice summer intensive.

A note: I do hope to share some of the stories of my new friends, through links if they create their own blog reflections, or through a "visiting" post here on my space. Let's keep the ReggioPLC growing!

Adding to the story:
Introduction to Reggio Inspired Practice: Participant Reflections

Reflections on the Reggio Professional Learning Collaborative Summer Intensive

What it Means to Collaborate: A Teacher’s Reflection

More to come!



  1. Hi Laurel,

    Thank you for sharing your learning with us!

    I have found Reggio Emilia-inspired conferences, workshops, courses, and professional development to be the most thought provoking - relationship building journeys that I have ever experienced to date! I hope that this is one of many that you will embark upon!

    Your documentation from the week made me feel as though I was there. Isn't there something so powerful about collaborative learning in a Reggio-inspired way? I'm simply drawn to the approach, and can't get enough of it!

    Looking forward to featuring your thinking and learning on our blog!


    Joanne Babalis

    P.S. I continue to admire your reflective nature and passion for Early Learning! So happy that you are a part of my PLC.

  2. Joanne,

    I'm honoured. I know you have been a part of this wonderful world of learning for a while now, and as I become more comfortable with self-identifying as "Reggio-Inspired" I count you as one of my compatriots. As you note, the relationships that grow out of such rich learning are really quite incredible. Isn't that a magnificent goal to have for our students? My experience thus far has been of deeper bonds of friendship, greater risks taken, and life-long memories created among students in a classroom full of choices, space and time to explore the wonders of daily life.

    And a note: although you were unable to join us this time, it was very much part of the experience to see these lovely places that many of us had first seen through your eyes on your blog. There were traces of you there, in your friendships with the staff at both schools, and your various posts that came up in conversations about different ideas over the week. Forgive the cliche: you were there in spirit.