Three faculty members from St. Margaret’s Early Childhood School presented at the 2019 Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference at the University of Michigan, sharing the school’s research-based, play-based curriculum and two lengthy projects that illustrate its success.
Early Childhood School Director Cris Lozon and teachers Jennifer Hardison and Debbie Herrera presented “Co-Constructing Knowledge With Young Learners: The Kite Project and The Garden Inquiry” during the conference, which is attended by university professors, researchers, educators, and doctoral students exploring constructivism and constructivist practices from early childhood to university level.
Dr. Lozon, Mrs. Hardison and Mrs. Herrera shared how two extensive projects turned student interest into curriculum rich in literacy, math, science and engineering. Mrs. Hardison shared her experiences with the kite project
, in which her students expressed an interest in kites and then worked with teachers to extend learning through research, constructing kites and testing different shapes and sizes. Through this student-driven subject matter, the children learned many cross-cutting science concepts, such as wind, gravity and speed, and even collaborated with a grade 9 world history class learning about knowledge acquisition for a cross-divisional experience.
The St. Margaret’s teachers also presented on the students’ work in the St. Margaret’s garden
, and how teachers capture and extend knowledge through photography and investigations while children explore in an outdoor setting.
Both projects were showcased to the St. Margaret’s community during the Early Childhood School’s Works of Wonder
exhibit in May.
After the initial presentation, the three teachers sat down for a question-and-answer session with Dr. Jacqueline Brooks, a constructivist education expert who has visited St. Margaret’s several times.
St. Margaret’s innovative Early Childhood School has attracted significant interest among early-childhood educators nationwide. Dr. Lozon has presented at several national conferences over the past year, and the school has been featured in publications like The Outdoor Classroom Project newsletter.