join an evening with Lella Gandini

children, light and many possibilities.
For over twenty years, the Reggio Emilia Approach to early education has been the vehicle that has transformed and revitalized teaching and learning with young children around the globe.

When educators, schools and administrators say they are "Reggio Inspired," well, we all know what that means: It means we are trying to be with young children in a way that is uplifting their journey of making meaning of their world.

The opportunity to attend even one Reggio Emilia conference in Italy is on the Wish List of so many of thousands of educators. Mostly, we have to rely on attending local conferences or workshops to gain new perspectives and revisit the theories of how to facilitate children's exploration in the most respectful and authentic ways we can. Read read read, join discussion groups in your community, tour the Exhibit when it comes near you, and become a teacher that listens (instead of "teaches").

OK, here's the best news:
If you live in the Bay Area in the gorgeous state of California, USA, there is an opportunity to hear the inspiring Lella Gandini, Reggio Children's Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Dr. Gandini is the co-author of "The Hundred Languages of Children" - THE resource for starting your journey to understand the RE Approach, its history and key principles to early education.

The Ventana School and Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos are hosting an evening with Dr. Gandini on November 9, 2011.
*This is a free event for the 7:00 presentation.
*If you would like to join the 5:30 Open Studio Social Hour with Leila Gandini, there is a charge of $20.
**Child care is available for a fee, see the online registration for details.

“Creativity is Dressed in Everyday Clothes”
An Inspirational Evening
with Author, Lella Gandini, Ed.D.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Christ Episcopal Church/Ventana School, 1040 Border Road, Los Altos

the many faces of creativity, perspective, color & joy.
In Dr. Gandini's presentation she will cover how:
~ Creativity should not be considered a separate mental faculty but a characteristic of our way of thinking, knowing and making choices.
~ Creativity seems to express itself through cognitive, affective, and imaginative processes.  

~ A child's creative process is fostered by his/her environment and by peers and adults who observe and listen to their ideas.
~ Intellectual and expressive activities are both rich in possibilities, and when used create more constructive and meaningful learning exchanges with children.

*Join for an Open Studio and Social Hour with Lella Gandini - $20 per person.  Heavy Apps and beverages will be provided.  Opportunities to explore materials in Ventana School's  Studio.  To RSVP for this event please email Elisa Merrifield at
**Child care will be available with advanced reservation only. $8 per child/$5 sibling fee.  Please reserve a spot by contacting Elisa Merrifield at or call (650) 948-2151 ex 115.

Questions? Contact: Elisa Merrifield at or call (650) 948-2151 ex 115.

This free event is being hosted by The Third Place. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

not-scary books for halloween

Gotta love happy reads for Halloween time. 
I appreciate books that are kid-friendly and are not scary for the <5 year old group.
Granted, some kids do like scary books, yet generally in a class group of children there will be 1-3 who don't like to be scared.
So, I just leave the potentially scary stuff for children to individually check out from the school library or with their guardians.

Books about Pumpkins:
  1. Picking Apples & Pumpkins. Amy & Richard Hutchings. Real photos at a farm!
  2. The Pumpkin Patch. Elizabeth King. A real pumpkin patch.
  3. Pumpkin Pumpkin. Jeanne Titherington. Growing your own pumpkin.

Book about the Day of the Dead:
  1. Felipa and the Day of the Dead. Birte Muller. Felipa looks for the long-lasting soul of her grandmother, Abuelita. Beautifully written & Illustrated.

Books for the Fun of Halloween:
  1. Franklin's Halloween. Paulette Bourgeois/Brenda Clark. Franklin book series is so appropriate for children!
  2. Georgie. Robert Bright. A ghost looking for a friendly haunted house.
  3. Boo! Made You Jump! Lauren Child. Love Charlie & Lola?? Of course!
  4. Pumpkin Soup. Helen Cooper. It takes teamwork to make good soup!
  5. The Bumpy Little Pumpkin. Margery Cuyler/Will Hillenbrand. Choose the pumpkin YOU like best!
  6. Room on a Broom. Julia Donaldson/Axel Sheffler. Adventures on a crowded broom!
  7. Angelina's Halloween. Katharine Holabird/Helen Craig. Angelina series.
  8. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever. Steven Kroll/Jeni Bassett. Two mice tending to 2 pumpkins for the Big Contest!
  9. Bats at the Library. Brian Lies. Did you know Bats love to read???
  10. Big Pumpkin. Erica Silverman/S.D. Schindler Best best best recorded tape/CD - must get! Teamwork of ghost, bat, mummy, vampire to help witch get her pumpkin!
  11. Winnie the Witch. Valerie Thomas/Korky Paul. Colorful adventure of Winnie!
  12. Winnie Flies Again. Valerie Thomas/Korky Paul.
  13. Winnie's Midnight Dragon. Valerie Thomas/Korky Paul.
  14. Too Many Pumpkins. Linda White/Megan Lloyd. What if accidentally you had a yard FULL of pumpkins and you didn't even like pumpkins???
  15. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. Linda White/Megan Lloyd. A huge favorite, great call-response, so wonderful & surprise ending!
  16. The Teeny Tiny Ghost. Kay Winters/Lynn Munsinger. The ghost who didn't like to be scary or loud!
  17. On Halloween Night. Harriet Ziefert/Renee Andriani. Repetition, rhyme, & colorful illustrations as one girl gets the elements of her costume on for Halloween night!
Happy Reading!
Do YOU have a favorite Halloween book?


Think about the children in your current classroom and from years past.
There are always faces that flash straight to mind due to one reason or another.

I must say, for me, children with some attitude or flair come to mind. Not necessarily the "busy" or "bossy" ones or the "ohhhh, gotta keep an eye on that one" ones. More so, for me, I reflect on children who seamlessly incorporate a certain tone  to deliver a phrase or in their conversation AND have a way they use their eyes and hands to help express their opinion or announcement. Makes me smile just thinking about Leo and Lara and Marina ...

"No more photos, pah-lease"

My blog today is inspired by my friend Laura's daughter "S" and a caption Laura attached to a recent photo of S  on a social networking site:

"Ah, shades of things
to come...I was taking photos of my daughter on a recent flight to LA when she puts her hand up and says
'No more photos, pah-lease'"

Take a moment to appreciate S and her calm yet clear request to her mother.

Take another moment to appreciate the one leg casually crossed, the one hand propped under her chin, the eyes looking upward and - yes - the hand signal STOP to reinforce the "pah-lease" no more photos.

[Couldn't have been a better photo of this request to stop taking photos.]

Laura and her daughter reminded me about ways that adults and children relate together. I appreciate that S has her own personal style to communicate with her mother. I appreciate that S has an opinion about something - photos, in this case - and how she feels at that moment on the airplane to not have photos. I interpret, though, that this was a comfortable request, not demanding, not defiant. S just happened to also have the hand signal and the eyes up, as though she couldn't have put out the request without the eyes and the hands, too. Pah -lease!

Other phrases or words from children who had the pizazz to go with it:

1. "ACTUALLY" : this has been a popular word over the years, used by a number of children to begin their sharing of an opinion or what seemed to them to be a correction of their peers [or me!]. Often, the word would be said slowly to articulate the four syllables AC-TU-AL-LY allowing the child's audience to get ready for something quite brilliant that was forthcoming. Along with the word, the head might be tilted to one side with eyes focused forward and two hands might be offered out like a tray that will deliver the new 'actual' information.

2. "Let Me Tell You Something!" also known as "Did you know?!..." An informative phrase. Might be when children arrive at school, out of breath running up to me, eyes tilted upward with forehead scrunched as they have information bursting out about a trip to the beach, a bug they found, or what they have in their lunch box.

3."Oh, Man...".  Children have used this when blocks fall over, when they hear the recess bell that recess is over, or when they can't find a chair at the snack table. This phrase has the shoulders slumped, the mouth squished, the eyes squinted in. Disappointment shown at its fullest along with "oh, maaannnnn......" dragged out in despair.

personality, pizazz, & flair at their best.
I hope your children have their personal style to share information, to make an announcement, to communicate with adults and peers. 
I can only imagine you can appreciate the flair and pizazz of PEOPLE - who happen to be young - who express themselves both in word and action. 

Do YOU have an example of a phrase or word that children have used with flair? "Pah-lease" feel free to share! [head nodding, eyes extra-wide open, one hand swishing out to the side]
** special thanks to Laura and S for their inspiration of living life with colorful self expression!

friday thank you notes 10.06

Reading other bloggers allows me to listen to children in new ways.

What a week.
(I am just saying).

Big things going on and - as always - amazing bloggers in the blogosphere that continually inspire me.

Big Thanks to 5 bloggers who made me think in new ways, made me think about children in new ways, and likely made me laugh a bit, too.

Check out these hot posts:

1. Documentation Gone Mad
Jenny from Let the Children Play posted a wonderful link on her Facebook page that addresses the role of Documentation for early childhood educators and how it often replaces the actual time spent to form relationships with children. Interesting perspective and reflection: click here to read about Documentation Gone Mad via Early Life Foundations. 

2.  Children are INTO Stuff
Do you know about Salt & Nectar? You must! Check out this post with guest writer Leslie Harper Foss who shares about children being Into Stuff  - really really really Into Stuff - click here to read Let's be "INTO" Stuff

3.  Cooperatively NOT Sharing
What if we leave young children to their own problem solving in their own time? What if adults - US - don't intervene to allow these very young to (cooperatively) NOT share? The ever-inspiring Janet Lansbury shares her perspective and a short real time video of Toddlers (cooperatively) NOT Sharing.

4. Grinding Coffee (he had me at COFFEE!)
Let's face it, sometimes you just cannot NOT read Teacher Tom's reflections, theories and matter-of-fact "this is our school" stories on his blog. Check out this post on simple machines, hand-ground coffee and treasures found at estate sales. Click here for "Grinding Coffee" from Teacher Tom

5. Using Your Fingers to Guide Your Reading
Gill Connell is masterful at making connections between physical development and any other curricular area for young children. Click here and check out this post that answers a parent's question regarding a child's use of fingers to help guide their early reading. Wonderful support for children using their bodies - hands, eyes - as they journey to become a reader!

Cheers to diverse, thoughtful, and respectful bloggers who continually uplift the life and learning of young children.
what do YOU think? do you have a favorite read?