Jamaal Bowman’s Anthem for the Whole Child

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Under winter’s hard, cold earth lie the fruits of the coming spring. But we needn’t wait until then: the nation’s classrooms are already verdant, filled with the energy and potential of our children.

Jamaal Bowman’s garden grows in the Bronx, where he began his career as an elementary school teacher at P.S. 90. The founding principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School, he was trained by New Leaders for New Schools, after serving as a guidance counselor, teacher, and dean of students at the High School of Art and Technology.

“Mr. Bowman gives every student his . . . Read full article →

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Drew Beeman on the Zen of Loose Parts

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While play advocates have touted the virtues of loose parts for decades, they are having a renaissance—finding their way into a comic strip by Dave Blazek, an illustrator, animator, and reformed standup comedian. “Because change comes from within, change comes from within, my children,” a sage proclaims in a speech bubble. In an age when unfettered activity is anathema, there’s something subversive—for many, terrifying—about leaving children to unstructured activities, away from the eyes of adults.

Drew Beeman, a self-described early childhood educator and specialist, has more than a decade of experience in child care . . . Read full article →

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Will Whole-Child Champion Michael Hynes Go All the Way?

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On a Monday evening, as summer ended, the Patchogue-Medford school board on Long Island affirmed its support for superintendent Michael Hynes, extending his contract for five years. President Anthony O’Reilly, as Greater Patchogue reported, was “thrilled beyond belief.”

In the United States, local communities are the hubs of education policymaking. The sentiments of this school board president reflect a philosophical shift away from the cold, rational demands of standards-based accountability, a consensus that children are the top priority. Hynes believes in teaching to the whole child, O’Brien said. He understands that kids are individuals: . . . Read full article →

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We’re Not in Reggio Emilia Anymore: Kathy and Ro’s Translation Project

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Play, the primary engine of human development, is vanishing. Melvin Konner, an anthropologist and neuroscientist, regards it as the central paradox of evolutionary biology, combining great energy and risk for an activity that seems pointless.

But pointless it’s not. The positive emotions evoked by interactions, physical exercise, and mastery of skills in play spurs us toward novelty and more flexible learning—an exquisite means of developing our brains, social selves, and alleviating stress.

Sadly, recent education policies have squelched what all the smartest mammals do naturally. Literacy and numeracy, the prime foci of the Common Core, have . . . Read full article →

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