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Reflective Practice

November 2016

The Early Childhood Center is deeply committed to reflective practice. Teachers spend time thinking about the children in their class, discussing the flow of the day, reflecting on different situations, and comparing notes with teachers in other classes.

Our students are challenged every day to stop and think about their play and wonder about new possibilities. Teachers engage children in conversations to help them contemplate the work they are doing and their behavior with their peers.

Recently, we had an opportunity to bring parents into the work of reflective practice as well. At our back to school night, we talked about how play in the classroom helps build skills that children will need to be successful at work in the 21st century. Some of those new skills include: inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness and meaning.

When parents were invited into the classrooms, different open-ended materials were available to play with. After a little while of playing, parents were presented with a number of different reflective questions: What skills were needed for your activity? How might these skills help you in life?

Teachers encouraged the parents to reflect on the opportunity and comment on the experience of being reflective on their play.

Some of the comments from the evening were:

“Using Play-Doh helped strengthen my hand muscles and my imagination…. It helped me see beyond what is presented in front of you…”

“I started using the wheels to make a car then I changed my plan and ended up with a shape.”

“Using the materials, I learned that you can create something that wasn’t there before.”

“Building with the log pieces helped me see how to use what you are given and make the best of it.”

“I needed patience, multi tasking and participation with others.”

“I set a goal and challenged myself to go higher.”

“I had to use patience and focus.”

“Putting together pieces took a lot of concentration and perseverance.”

Surely having the opportunity to play and reflect on the experience helped everyone see the significance of their children’s work every day in school. It is clear from their comments that they were able to see the impact of the play beyond what was going on in the moment.

The activity also got people talking and connecting and helped us begin to create a sense of community in our parent body. These hands-on opportunities are another way for us to help parents understand how we do what we do and why we do it this way.

May 29,2020 /  6 Sivan 5780