About a month ago, I wrote this post on my own blog to share some reflections about creating this site and my thoughts on why global education and collaboration should be encouraged and supported in early childhood. You can read more about how my background influenced me in creating this website and my views on technology and global learning experiences in early childhood below. I also recommend check out Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood, a post I wrote about the new NAEYC and Fred Rogers Technology Position Statement and its implications for global education.
The child is made of one hundred.
The child has a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
a hundred, always a hundred …
(See the original post for the entire poem)
From The Wonder of Learning Website
“No Way. The Hundred is There” has been one of my favorite poems for many years now. Hearing it was one of the things that inspired me to study abroad in Reggio Emilia, Italy, where the author, Loris Malaguzzi, worked with teachers to design a unique approach to early care and education. I truly believe that young children have a hundred languages and “(and a hundred, hundred, hundred more)” to express their ideas and emotions and to interact with the world.
It was really my experiences with educators in Italy and coming to understand the vast capabilities of very young children, including the depth of reflection they can engage in, that pushed me to get a master’s in International Training and Education. This passion for early childhood education, as well as my focus on technology, is what has driven my capstone work, which is the culminating project for my master’s program. I have been designing a website for early childhood educators to use as a resource to learn more about the reasons and ways to create global learning experiences in their classrooms using technology. The site provides information about the fields of global education, educational technology, and early childhood, as well as specific technology tools that can be used in the classroom.
My hope is that the website will be accessible and easy for teachers to use, providing them with relevant and readable information. To make the site valuable for teachers, I have been conducting an online survey asking early childhood teachers for information about their current practices with technology and about what resources they would like to have to better understand and create global learning experiences. I plan to use their responses when selecting what content to add to the site. For example, one teacher has requested a sample lesson plan so she can get a better sense of what a lesson would look like that incorporates technology to create a global learning experience.
What has been frustrating, is that while I have found some great resources about global education and technology tools for collaboration, there are limited sources available that combine these ideas together. And there are almostnone, that discuss creating global learning experiences with students before they enter Kindergarten. I have been lucky to have access to some amazing examples of global collaboration and exchange by being part of the#kinderchat community on Twitter. These teachers have provided me with some great stories and are fabulous models for global learning in early childhood.
But I’m still left deeply disappointed. If we believe young children can speak hundreds of languages, why do they have to enter formal schooling before they can have opportunities to express all of those languages and to learn others from children around the world? Preschoolers in Reggio Emilia have been valued and respected enough to be entrusted with designing the city’s theater curtain or creating an amusement park for birds in one of the city parks. Yet in most schools in the U.S., we restrict these young children from using technologies like Skype, Voicethread or Twitter to connect, share, learn, and collaborate with other young children around the world. Why?
I’m left with the mantra Malaguzzi used to end his poem “The child says: No Way. The Hundred is there.” The child perseveres, even after teachers, parents, and society try to separate ideas and opportunities for discovery from the child and to dissuade the child from believing. So that it what I too will do, by creating this website and hoping that more early childhood teachers can begin introducing opportunities to children before they reach kindergarten for global collaboration and exchange. If we can support the inclusion of global learning experiences at this early stage in a child’s life, I believe we will open up exciting and inspiring opportunities to learn about multiculturalism, multilingualism, and diversity both with and from these young children.
via The Hundred is There and Now is The Time to Listen.