"Promoting independent outdoor play is especially important when children's lives are increasingly regulated by the company of adults. . . . Outdoor play settings may be the one place where children can independently orchestrate their own negotiations with the physical and social environment and gain the clarity of selfhood necessary to navigate later in life." Outdoor Play: Teaching Strategies With Young Children, 2001.
"Bruce got stuck in the bathroom while Joyce babysat. Got her father, but couldn't do much. Her mother came back from town meeting. Got Bruce out by rubber thing." Dear Diary, 1966.
"The three boys crouch closely into a crevice in the sand. The oldest separates the loose dry sand from the hardened, packed underlayer. He carves his brother's initials in a sand rock as the two others bend down to blow sand powder away from the work surface. Carefully, the oldest lifts out an amputated rock for each boy. The children carry their sand rocks gently around the playground in focused procession, nesting their gifts in proximal and not so proximal places." Sand Rocks, 2002.
"We're always gonna ask you: ' Are you OK or are you stressed? If you are annoyed, go to the bathroom and splash water on your face." Hits and Hawkers, 2006, Latin Poems Podcast, 2011.
Humans by their very nature are storytelling creatures, conveying essential meanings about themselves and their worlds through gestures, words, and cadenced utterances. I am an ethnographer. I convey in narrative format what it means to be children and teachers out on the playground (Outdoor Play: Teaching Strategies with Young Children, 2001, Making Sense of Outdoor Play, 2003/4, and "Sometimes I Pounce on Twigs Because I'm a Meat Eater," 2009), what it means to be a new mother (Lactobabe, 1998), and to be finally alone in a busy household (Nightmirror, 2004), how I document the subtexts of children's peer play culture through their story dictations (Using Young Children's Story Plays to Assess the Development of Narration, 2004), and what it means to learn in a play-based classroom (Children Making Sense: Cultivating a Classroom of Inquiry, project in development).
I investigate children's peer play culture and the negotiated learning experience between that culture and the teaching culture, especially outdoors and through children's own narratives. Through a collage of participant observations, audio recordings, dreams, and text I also write short stories (see Darting Briefly) and produce audio story poems (see podcasts 42, Knickerbocker Knees, Alley Frogs, Muir Woods, Between, and Gamboling).
Stories heard and seen: in the classroom, in public, on the radio, tucked in the midst of a collage.
Children Making Sense of Their World: Creating a Classroom of Inquiry, co-authored with Barbara Scales and Rebecca Tracy, is a book ready for publication. Children Making Sense of their World uses real classroom events, including public schools, to offer concrete strategies for attaining program quality through play. The authors re-conceptualize the concept of learning centers in classrooms as social ecologies, where teachers create spaces for play and inquiry, observe, reflect on understandings, evaluate next steps, and report on and refine play and learning experiences from the point of view of the children. They use the dialogue of the classroom to "paint a picture” and analyze events by focusing on child-directed play inside and outdoors, circle time, and small group learning activities. Children Making Sense of their World illustrates teaching strategies that encourage children to play, solve problems, and experience competence in all curriculum areas including active outdoor play.
Yes, I need one.
Teachers College Press
Routledge/Taylor & Francis Online
Pogo Park at www.pogopark.org, Alameda County Community Food Bank Museum of...
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