The freedom of the mind

Published by Lori Pickert on October 23, 2008 at 04:39 AM


The freedom of the mind is the beginning of all other freedoms. — Clinton Lee Scott


Minimally invasive education

Published by Lori Pickert on October 20, 2008 at 04:02 PM

Ted Talk: Sugata Mitra shows how kids teach themselves

Stick with it (or fast forward) until somewhere around minute 7 when he begins speaking about the Hole-in-the-Wall project — kids teaching themselves. Incredibly inspirational.

Sugata Mitra: Catalyst of Curiosity (Edutopia)

The “Hole in the Wall” project on Frontline

“Hole in the Wall” documentary

Official Hole-in-the-Wall site


Image of the child

Published by Lori Pickert on October 19, 2008 at 12:33 PM


Our image of the child is rich in potential, strong, powerful, competent, and most of all connected to adults and other children. — Loris Malaguzzi

[At the center] is the image of a child who is competent in building knowledge and a constant seeker of meanings. — The Hundred Languages Exhibit

To speak to the world about children’s infinite wealth of potential, their ability to wonder and investigate, their ability to co-construct their knowledge through active and original relational processes; this has always been [our] primary objective... — The Hundred Languages Exhibit

When the adult can no longer be surprised and enthusiastic about what children do, then the role of the teacher is over for that person.

The problem, then, is to become aware of what is happening right under our eyes. — Loris Malaguzzi


What do students want?

Published by Lori Pickert on October 18, 2008 at 02:15 PM


Most teachers have a fairly good idea of what they want from students. They want students to become people who can think intelligently and creatively, communicate clearly and expressively, critique freely, work for the common good, and link consciousness to conduct (Ayers, 1991).

But what do students want from teachers? — “Instructional Design for Inquiry”


Art history journal

Published by Lori Pickert on October 17, 2008 at 07:47 PM

While looking through old journals for things to photograph, I found this journal made by my son when he was 7 and 8, during a year-long art history project. The pages were compiled separately and bound together at the end of the year. There was also a set of handmade note cards (cut card stock) on a ring filled with his notes on various books he’d read and works of art he’d seen during the year.

This project was done at our private school under the auspices of the world’s greatest studio teacher; our Reggio-inspired program had mixed-age classes, a project-based curriculum, and each class had its own full art studio. There are schools that do this kind of learning! I find that heartening...

I love these three-dimensional, complex, layered pages. I find them inspirational; I hope you do, too. 


Creative players of childhood

Published by Lori Pickert on October 17, 2008 at 02:20 PM


What happens to the creative house, store, and restaurant players of childhood in middle school? Children who invented new worlds, objects, and environments and set up everything as a great display at home come to school and say they have no ideas. It is these home players — the ones who can design all spaces, animate all objects, and design any new project — who need support. — George Szekely

Leave room for learning

Published by Lori Pickert on October 11, 2008 at 01:04 PM

[W]e have to discuss more fully the role that children assume in the construction of self and knowledge, and the help they get in these matters from adults. It is obvious that between learning and teaching, we honor the first. It is not that we ostracize teaching, but that we declare, “Stand aside for awhile and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children do, and then, if you have understood well, perhaps teaching will be different from before.” — Loris Malaguzzi, The Hundred Languages of Children

A hundred languages

Published by Lori Pickert on October 10, 2008 at 05:13 PM

No way. The hundred is there.*

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
ways of listening
of marveling of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

— Loris Malaguzzi

*Translated from the Italian by Lella Gandini

the hundred languages exhibit


Published by Lori Pickert on October 7, 2008 at 07:09 PM


As an American educator, I cannot help but be struck by certain paradoxes. In America we pride ourselves on being focused on children, and yet we do not pay sufficient attention to what they are actually expressing. We call for cooperative learning among children, and yet we rarely have sustained cooperation at the level of teacher and administrator. We call for artistic works, but we rarely fashion environments that can truly support and inspire them. We call for parental involvement, but are loathe to share ownership, responsibility, and credit with parents. We recognize the need for community, but we so often crystallize immediately into interest groups. We hail the discovery method, but we do not have the confidence to allow children to follow their own noses and hunches. We call for debate, but often spurn it; we call for listening, but we prefer to talk; we are affluent, but we do not safeguard those resources that can allow us to remain so and to foster the affluence of others. — Howard Gardner