2018 Green Vale Magazine

Page 6

Sparking Imagination

in Early Childhood

Creativity, problem-solving, collaboration: who can tell the difference?

Green Vale’s approach to early education (collectively the Pre-Nursery, Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten years) has long prioritized a balance between play and academics. Increasingly, lines between play and academics are being blurred as Green Vale’s teachers are using space, time, materials, and the nature of their pedagogy to encourage new forms of problem solving, creativity, collaboration, and yes — fun. Rather than attempting to dictate or predict precisely what students will learn, the teachers are devising ways for students to explore new frontiers and motivating them to seek knowledge and skills on their terms, in service of goals the children derive themselves. Classroom spaces are becoming fluid environments that align with children's flexible minds and spirited bodies. Additional inspiration this year has come from consultant Linda White, founder of the Imagination Play Project, who is known for pop-up exploration studios for young children at museums and schools in New York City. Her expertise lies in setting a stage with open-ended materials and letting children problemsolve, collaborate, and create their way through the experience. In this way, children arrive at a deeper understanding than they do when directly taught codes and conventions.

“I view my role as a facilitator. Right now my classroom has a hiding place, presents, and notes for a shy leprechaun. It’s collaborative and sprawling, with different kids working on different elements.” — Mary Metzger, Pre-K Teacher 4

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