Joseph - thank you so much for posting the Lilian Katz article. I hope that everyone takes a moment to read it and share it with their colleagues. At best, please engage in conversation about what the article says and begin to examine and explore other possibilities. I had the privilege of seeing Lilian give a presentation about two years ago and when she brought up the calendar and described the why, as you so brilliantly stated, I thought most people's head was going to pop off. I felt like I was a three-year-old jumping around in my seat clapping and jumping for joy. I was very alone in sharing my strong emotions.
The why for me is the most important piece in what we do. It is what defines intentional teaching. If we just do things because they have always been done that way then we lose our intentionality and purpose. This leads to practices that are not developmentally appropriate. If you understand child development then you understand why the calendar is not the best option for morning meeting. I also want to say that I agree that the calendar does have its place in the class and can be utilized in various different ways. Thank you for sharing your anecdote. I think as teachers we learn from each other. We are our most important network of supporters and cheerleaders. I started this conversation because I want to start having the conversation about moving forward in our practice and this topic is just one that really gets me.
It's funny that you mentioned the house keeping corner.....this might be my next question on the forum! :)
Castle, K. (2012). Early childhood teacher research: From questions to results. New York: Rougledge.
Robert, thank you for making such an excellent point and one that I was hoping would come up. I believe that we need to give teachers permission to be reflective, to not have it all figured out on day one, and allow them the opportunity to get to know their students, and then build the curriculum around what they have learned about the children in the class. I think this discussion is not just about teachers but also about directors, supervisor, and administrators allowing teachers to take a deep breath and build up to a curriculum that meets the children where they are. I am not convinced this is happening. There is such a focus on standards and benchmarks for school readiness. This is our version of teaching to the test. The calendar conversation is a small part of a much bigger conversation. I think it needs to start because as our friend Rick Ellis stated, he has seen it for 40 years. 40 years ago, when my mom took me home from the hospital my father snapped a picture of her holding me in her arms....in the front seat. That is how they brought me home from the hospital. I can remember seeing that photo and being beside myself. "Where was the car seat?" I shouted. We laughed and she said that is just what we did back then. Really? Would anyone even fathom taking a newborn home while being carried in the front seat? NO! It seems downright reckless and horrifying. I realize there is a difference between car safety and calendar at school but I hope you get my point. It's time to move forward. It has been shared that one of the most dangerous words that can ever be said is, "We have always done it this way". Just because the calendar is familiar and has been done for many years does not make it. As educators, when we subscribe to this type of practice, I think we devalue ourselves. Let's be innovative. Think outside that damn box we always talk about!
Hmm...stubborn teachers. What to do? I never made it a choice. Though it may have been regarded as heavy handed I made a statement. We talked it out and made compromises. The calendar was used to keep track of events or visitors to the classroom. It was a part of the classroom but not the focus unless it made sense based on the curriculum. When teachers push passed preconceived ideas, understand the "why", and are given permission to explore the change can happen. It's slow but it happens with continued support, sharing of ideas, talking about the failures, and celebrating the successes.
You are so right, Rosalie! I totally support your opinion and all your ideas. Best of luck as you move ahead regardless of some who might disagree! You've got great ideas for supporting projects and for supporting children in general – just doing what's best for them and their learning.
Essentials for Greatness Coach
Consultant, Coach, Trainer
Hi Mike. You are right. It's a business and it's all about demand. I am ready to give them a reason to stop printing the materials! While they may have a place in the Kindergarten and upper grades (although I could make an argument here too) it has less of a place in early childhood. Someone decided a long time ago that it was a good idea. Maybe it was a business and not even a teacher. Who knows at this point but I believe that when you know better you do better. The only way to make change is to make some noise!!!! Get people's attention and start to change the conversation. Years ago, we were seen as glorified babysitter. Now we stand tall and are fighting for our place in the world of education. We want to be paid well and respected for our work. Well let's give them something to respect us for. Let's do things differently and make a statement with students who are better prepared not because of their flashy classroom but because they had teachers who knew better and did better.