Today while driving I was thinking about my favorite books as a teacher/educator: books that support my development and inspire me to stay open and try new things. And then I had a little fantasy what if I could decide recommended reading for teachers/educators.
In my perfect world, when teachers graduate from their programs, doesn’t matter the level of program, but before they set foot in a classroom, they should be handed these books as a set.
These are my choices:
Painting and Children by Cathy Topal
Beautiful stuff by Cathy Topal
The Hundred Languages by Reggio
Clay and Children by Cathy Topal
Parenting from the Inside out by Dan Siegal and Mary Hartzell
Why? Why would I choose these books?
Let’s face it , in a classroom, a teacher must have knowledge to plan experiences and curriculum for children. Children learn best by doing, exploring, being curious, touching. It’s helpful to have some knowledge of materials, like clay, paint, glue and more materials.
I think these books support beginnings and intermediate learning processes for teachers with materials. Cathy Topal’s books give me confidence to try creative expressions with children and not be afraid.
The Hundred Languages reminds me of the process of education, the respect for children, parents and teachers. It reminds me to think about what I am doing: to ask myself questions about the choices I make.
It reminds me to have a strong image of children as co-creators and co constructors of knowledge. It reminds me to be curious and to wonder with children. It reminds me to listen. For a new teacher or even a teacher that has been in the classroom for many years the Hundred Languages is a work that can be read over and over again. One can find new inspiration.
The parenting book is an excellent resource for being mindful and aware of oneself in the continuum of life as a human being. When we reflect on our self and how we were raised, it helps understand the choices we make as an adult in relationship with others. And this is a book that works personally and professionally: the more aware one is, the more one is able to be in deeper relationship with those our life intersects with. It talks about attunement, Important in relationship particularly with young children. Plus it has brain development information thrown in.
When I see articles in newspapers, magazines and online about education and all it’s inherent problems, I think about these books and that they could be a beginning. There are more books that could be added, but then I would have to write more….. another entry. Life long learning, being a teacher, a human being, a parent, a child, a friend, living life: it is all a journey.