This blog is a place to share research, experiences and inspirations around teaching and the world of Early Childhood Education —which I believe includes just about anything and everything creative.

Archive for Communication Centre


Karyn’s House. Machine Paper Foundation Piecing : Houses. the workroom.Toronto, ON.May 2011

Working for a school which is owned by an apparel company means that we have an ample supply of fabrics, buttons and ribbons, hence my weekly check in’s with the workroom’s blog make something. Houses inspires me!

Agne’s Houses. Machine Paper Foundation Piecing : Houses. the workroom.Toronto, ON.May 2011

Turning Trash Into Toys For Learning

Overwhelmed by the amount of inspiration here… have a pencil and paper ready when you hit play!

“At the INK Conference, Arvind Gupta shares simple yet stunning plans for turning trash into seriously entertaining, well-designed toys that kids can build themselves — while learning basic principles of science and design.”

Oh my… just discovered these TUTORIALS!

Active Creators

Frog Design: “As the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget once said, “Play is the answer to how anything new comes about.” A playful mind thrives on ambiguity, complexity, and improvisation—the very things needed to innovate and come up with creative solutions to the massive global challenges in economics, the environment, education, and more.”

READ The Four Secrets of Playtime That Foster Creative Kids

The Alphabet Song, Cool.

The Alphabet Song by The LMNOPs from The LMNOPs on Vimeo.

“The mission of The LMNOPs is creating music that’s fun for kids and not annoying to their parents. The Alphabet Song is the first on the LMNOPs debut album. Help support the album at The LMNOPs are Zach Reasoner, Todd Gummerman and Laura Gummerman”

Human Development Report 2010

Families on three continents tell how their lives and their countries have changed over the past 40 years…

Human Development Report 2010 —20th Anniversary Edition
The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development
(Full report PDF available HERE)

The first Human Development Report in 1990 opened with the simply stated premise that has guided all subsequent Reports: “People are the real wealth of a nation.” By backing up this assertion with an abundance of empirical data and a new way of thinking about and measuring development, the Human Development Report has had a profound impact on development policies around the world.

This 20th anniversary edition features introductory reflections by the Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen, who worked with series founder Mahbub ul Haq on the conception of the first Human Development Report and contributed to and inspired many successive volumes.

The 2010 Report continues the tradition of pushing the frontiers of development thinking. For the first time since 1990, the Report looks back rigorously at the past several decades and identifies often surprising trends and patterns with important lessons for the future. These varied pathways to human development show that there is no single formula for sustainable progress—and that impressive long-term gains can and have been achieved even without consistent economic growth.

Looking beyond 2010, this Report surveys critical aspects of human development, from political freedoms and empowerment to sustainability and human security, and outlines a broader agenda for research and policies to respond to these challenges.

As Amartya Sen writes: “Twenty years after the appearance of the first Human Development Report, there is much to celebrate in what has been achieved. But we also have to be alive to ways of improving the assessment of old adversities and of recognizing—and responding to—new threats that endanger human well-being and freedom.“

The 20th anniversary edition is a response to that human development imperative.”

(Canada 8th in ‘Quality of Life” ranking)

Children in Europe: Issue 19

I have received a number of back issues of Children in Europe (published in September & March in 15 languages, by a network of national magazines in 17 countries) + Children in Scotland (published monthly) and I am strongly considering reviving my membership now that I am back in Europe. However, I feel that the information shared could prove valuable no matter where you are in this world — review coming soon – in the meantime, check out Issue 19!

Issue 19 “examines the use of outside space across the EU and considers the benefits that unstructured play and the natural environment offer to young children and the implications for pedagogical approaches and support.

Includes articles on how to develop outdoor spaces and encourage more extensive use of the natural environment in risk averse societies and examines the positive influences on children’s health and wellbeing.”

Contents include:

*Comparative table of outdoor space standards and services for young children in selected European countries *Encouraging more outdoor physical activity – Bødo, Norway *Outside the school: A world full of possibilities – Catalonia *Let’s play in Brussels! *Outdoor play at the core of health promotion – Sweden *Promoting traditional outdoor games for the well-being of children – Romania *Introducing children to outdoor living- Denmark *Pedagogy: The art of handling risks, not avoiding them – Germany *If the whole world could see me, they would see that I was smiling – Croatia *Where was your favourite place to play as a child? – England *Gender differences in playgrounds – Northwest Greece *Street life – Rome, Italy *Playing outdoors in natural spaces – Scotland & Italy.

Click here to buy!

Architecture + Pedagogy

For teachers of Early Childhood Education who are familiar with the Reggio Educational Approach and Philosophy which insists that children learn readily from their environment, and therefor the environment is the ‘third’ teacher’, The Diana Municipal Preschool is a mecca, so to speak.

Below is an overview of the Diana Municipal Preschool in Reggio Emilia, Italy from ‘Imagine’.

‘Imagine’ is “a database which captures school design best practice from around the world.” Case studies are selected, researched and written by a core team of architects and researchers and serve as an academic resource and research base, applicable in the practice of design, planning and construction of schools.

“The Reggio Emilia schools were established after the 2nd World War by communities who took the opportunity to redesign and rebuild their approach to preschool education in the city. Parents literally used the rubble of destroyed buildings to create learning environments whose focus was to allow children the opportunity to experience life through sensory investigation. The design of the school buildings is aimed to link inside and outside, creating an environment where ‘osmosis’ between enclosed and open spaces could occur. The buildings and pedagogy were considered and developed at the same time, each reinforcing the other.”

View full case study here

TEDX Next Generation

The internet+social media have saved the Gap from ugliness this past week and these presentations have reassured me that the power of the internet is being used for more than helping a brand save face. Remember the old saying (old show) ” Kids Are People To”? Well, TEDX NG is a great platform for reminding people of this, in some cases, proving it.

“August 28th, 2010, a dynamic group of teens presented their ideas for the future to an audience ready to be inspired at the first ever TEDxNextGenerationAsheville (TEDxNGA). This interactive, multi-media event at The Orange Peel in downtown Asheville was an opportunity for growth, learning and fun for our entire community and a springboard to action. Watch the videos now to experience the power of these young people’s passion and ideas”

“11 year-old Birke Baehr spoke about “What’s Wrong With Our Food System? And How Can We Make A Difference?” His talk has currently (on September 30th) been viewed over 104,000 times in the 1 short week that it has been online. The world is ready to listen to what youth have to say. We need to hear their wisdom.”

via playful learning + twitter

Early Years (in Sweden)

“This programme explores the Swedish approach to nursery education. What is the secret to their success? What factors combine to help Swedish children perform so well in European literacy tables?”

via Teacher TV – such a great resource – so many informative videos available here, take some time to explore their site and pass it along…

August 31st…

It has been rather quiet around here, okay more like silent. The “quietness” is going to continue for about another week or so as I get myself organized (school starts this week) and our internet connection gets sorted. If you are on twitter, I will be posting random updates/photos via mobile phone here: @urbanpreschool

Below is a short list of blogs and websites that I visit frequently – people and organizations that I admire and look to for inspiration. Enjoy!

Bakers and Astronauts (Allie will be presenting at PechaKucha Night Brussels in September), 5x5x5creative, Atelierista-Anna, Turtlewings, Whole Education, Progressive ECE Blog, School within a School and Public Workshop

-> 40 minutes on the metro in the morning is a good thing with new posts by Atelierista-Anna

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