Teachers from FWSU presented at the 2012 National Association of Young Children (NAEYC) in Atlanta, Georgia last week. They spoke about the impact of using Powerful Interactions with children in an academic setting, showed video clips of their practices in Vermont classrooms, and talked about reflection with colleagues as being an essential.
Powerful Interactions provides strategies for teachers to be present with individual children in order to connect, personalize, and extend their learning. Nancy Hurt and Jenny Blackman from Fletcher, and Becky Amblo and Erica Green from BFA Fairfax, presented on the work that we are doing in FWSU to personalize learning for young children in our early education programs. By engaging with children in their play, teachers connect learning with children’s natural sense of discovery, curiosity, and interests.
Our teachers’ invitation to present at NAEYC stems from FWSU’s work with Charlotte Stetson, author of Powerful Interactions: How to Connect with Children to Extend their Learning. FWSU teachers were recognized for using model practices to extend children’s play into meaningful and valuable learning. Their approaches with children and their use of digital media to capture interactions in the preschool and kindergarten classrooms, was recognized as key to best practice. A colleague stopped them in the hotel to thank them after the presentation; “I could not stop taking notes!” she said.
When asked about the impact of presenting at a large, international conference, one teacher shared, “ I was struck by the critical mass of educators at all levels who understand and believe the research about best practice in early education. PLAY is so critical to the development of a child’s mind, whether we are talking about language development, social development, literacy or math concepts.” Another added, “Experiencing the sense of colleagueship on the international level was awe-inspiring.”
“Recognizing the wonder and joy of early childhood, and protecting it, is a worthy cause.”