Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How We Went from the Farm to a Phone Booth.

My totally cool colleagues created a phone booth for the children. How did we get to a phone booth? By emergent curriculum and the Project Approach.

Curriculum that emerges out of the interests of children and teachers has been very important to Early Childhood Education, at least in the preschool years when standardized testing has yet to make an appearance. It is a concept carefully explained in a multitude of textbooks from which I teach, and you can find many resources by googling the term. I want to describe a process from my own center, so that its example can be examined by others. Everything that emerges doesn't necessarily have to be extended or studied, but sometimes they are, and they become a project. In this case, a metamorphosizing project.

So how did a dramatic play area be transformed from a farm to a grocery store and then to a grocery store with an old fashioned (British-style) phone booth in it? Was this whimsy? Well,...yes, but read on!

In October we went on our annual field trip to the Potomac Vegetable Farm.. The children enjoyed a hayride, a walk through plantings both common and uncommon (who would have thought Coltsfoot was grown in a vegetable farm, but it is commonly used in stews in England. My teaching partner, Sue, told the children about eating it in wonderful, aromatic stews as a child growing up in Australia. We also ate cherry tomatoes straight off of the vines. Yum!)

The children enjoyed the pigs and hens. One girl almost fell into the pig pen by leaning as far out as she could. She wanted to pet a pig!
We ended with a picnic, and buying vegetables for our afternoon snack table at the center.

The dramatic play area quickly became a farm. The children made vegetables for planting, and used masking tape for rows. No, we did not use plastic vegetables. They are very colorful and fun, but they cut out a step necessary to our approach: The children need to do whatever they can to contribute to the project. We don't magically do it for them. They have ownership, an important part of self-esteem and self-efficacy. Fine motor skills get their due, without artificial activities to practice them.
After a while the farm idea got old. The children didn't play in it anymore and at the same time they began showing an interest in cooking and recipe writing. So...
I put out flower, oatmeal, sugar, salt, spices and water. I told them they needed to "write" a recipe before they cooked. So they drew pictures and invented spelling of the ingredients they wanted in their cooking, and "followed" the recipe on trays. We even put some of the concoctions into little cups, and put them in the fridge to see how they would change. The children predicted results ranging from actual cookies to "mush!". They wanted to cook again and again I decided that they needed to actually do the real thing. With Thanksgiving approaching we decided to make applesauce and pumpkin pudding. Of course they wrote recipes, first! The amazing thing about an emergent curriculum is that writing practice is painless. Children are motivated to use the tools of emergent and developmental writing when they have something they dearly want to do! Each child participates at his or her own level.

Pretend Cooking
Pretend cooking and actual cooking easily introduced the idea of where the crops go from the farm. Children are very much aware of grocery stores and what they can (and sometimes can't) get from them! They began bringing in empty cartons and containers from home. Our amazing teacher, Carrie, made shelving, and they were stocked by the children. We hauled out the toy cash registers. Did we use play money? NO! The children were more than happy to produce money at an alarming rate, and much of it had numbers on it (Ah ha! There's that emergent math!). They learned through trial and error that the money needed to fit the cash register drawers so they began cutting it down. All the while they were shopping and checking people out, taking their food "home" to the library and the loft. Social skills were tested through negotiating who would be checkers and who would shop. I suggested creating a crew of "Night Stockers" but that was voted down by my colleagues. The children never see the night stockers. They aren't a part of their shopping experience.

Which brings us to the phone booth...

When I was little, every grocery store had some form of public phone either inside or out. In Australia, Sue says there are still red, British-style phone booths. Phone booths are a part of our childhood memories, not of our students'. But we described them, each in turn, to the children, emphasizing that, once upon a time, people didn't carry phones in their pockets! There were public phones and people actually stood in line to use them. The children were entranced.

So Carrie and Sue made one out of cardboard, plastic, paint and duct tape. And the children began lining up to use it. It was and is a delight for all of us.

So here it is, a documentation of a series of projects and activities that emerged through the day to day life of a multi-age classroom of three and four year olds. I didn't even mention the books we read as part of our work with the children, but there were many. There was probably more we could have done. But having done this much has been a joy for everyone. And the emergence of curriculum will doubtless continue.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Becoming a Life-Long Learner

I will start backwards, since backwards design is the rage...
This is the Welcome Symbol of our stairwell ocean. He/she is an octopus made by children, stuffing shredded paper into stockings and gluing buttons on the tentacles to represent suckers (Wiki Answers says they are called that. I'm not making it up!). I suggested that, as younger children are starting in a week, we may have to give the octopus a smiley face, to make sure they aren't put off preschool permanently.

Seriously, though, the ocean in the stairwell is painstakingly designed and executed by creative teachers and eager children. The children take full ownership, calling it "Our Ocean". I shiver with delight when I hear this.

Since I do teach integrating the arts with curriculum, and emphasize project learning, this is a terrific example for me to document. What is at the top of the ocean? At the bottom? In the middle? What are these zones called? The stairwell answers and illustrates them answers. Our incredibly creative teacher, Carrie, made the adult signs for explaining to parents what we all have been teaching. There are various zones of depth that have differing amounts of light, and the sea life of each zone is adapted to that light. I do not intend to explain that here, but would rather show pictures and comment on the cross-curricular opportunities afforded by teaching this way. To have children just barely four and children turning five and a half participate in a project where each child has a creative role and can explain their own understanding of the learning appropriate to their developmental level is what we call "best practice" in the business. I call it amazing.

Our children used reference materials to illustrate their understandings. Sometimes they strove for accuracy and sometimes for whimsy. Being young children they usually combined the two to some degree.
Invented or developmental spelling is a literacy element in the project. Children sounded out the zone beside the adult explanations of each zone.
The most colorful and elaborate part of this exhibit is the coral at the top of the stairs. Children painted the coral and cut out sections. They helped tape the pieces up with teacher guidance. Fish and other sea life were added to show how they lived among the coral, which itself is alive.

The deep water has unusual sea life, not often shown in children's storybooks so it is helpful to portray it.
Jellyfish, made with coffee filters and either yarn or paper curls, were very popular with the children. They enjoyed both making and helping to hang them.
At the bottom of two flights of stairs lay the "trenches" where the life that can live with little light resides. Here we have an example of that life, an explanation, and a child's attempt to write the name of the zone. Accuracy isn't the point. The attempt to express meaning through letters and pictures is a hallmark of early and developmentally appropriate literacy practice.

I could go on, but I hope I've made my points. As I wrote in my first post about this project, children in the fifth grade are learning this material. And they are doing most excellent reading and writing, listening and discussing, I'm sure. When our children arrive at the fifth grade, they will have had this grounding experience of having been immersed in the life of the sea, a virtual world in the stairwell of their school. During the years between now and then we hope they will retain their keen love of participating in their own planning of projects, and that they will own their own learning. This is what we as educators want for our children. This is what makes a "life-long learner".

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How to teach complex ecosystems to young children.

When walking down the stairs becomes walking to the bottom of the ocean...
Carrie, my inventive colleague, is creating the ocean in our two-floor stairwell. She read to her group about the different sea life at different depths. Her group is almost all four now, and they can explain, in their amazing way, what kinds of sea life is found, and what they need to live. Since I close the center two days a week I have the luxury of listening to them share the book with me. This is how I know they comprehend depth and light at each level, and some of the creatures who inhabit them. I must tell you something amazing: When I came to work Monday and started up the stairs, I had the uncanny sensation of being at the bottom of the ocean, walking up to light. I also perceived something similar to what I perceived entering the Rothko room at The Phillips Collection: Profound mystery.

The week before she had large paper out, different shades of blue paint, and children were helping her create her stairwell masterpiece. So I knew something was up, but not exactly what. She has presented our teaching team with a wonderful challenge to invent different ways for the children to interact with our "ocean". Sue and I are discussing sharing Sue's scuba diving hobby, and my own interest in teaching concepts through music and movement. Carrie and her partner Anne will be initiating art activities to populate the ocean with dwellers at each level of depth. Perhaps we will visit an aquarium. There are so many possibilities opening for project work because of simple paint, paper, and a mundane stairwell.

The stamp of approval came from an unlikely source. One of the local elementary school principals came to observe a future student (they do this routinely, kudos to Arlington Public Schools) and remarked, on ascending the two floors, that she should bring her fifth graders to our stairwell. They are learning about the ocean ecosystem. Experiencing it virtually (not digitally) would help their learning. Quite a feather in a certain teacher's cap, I'd say.

Learning to learn

A month and a half later, we are sitting in morning meeting, and I show our group a flyer from the Washington Opera's coming 2013-2014 season. On the front there is a color picture of the three ladies from Magic Flute confronting the (two-headed!) dragon over the fainted body of Tamino. I show this flyer to our children and they exclaim in joy--"Magic Flute! Look at that dragon!". A visiting former student asks, "Is he dead?". A student patiently  explains, "He's the prince Tamino". Another: "He fainted when the dragon came." They begin reminiscing about the performance, and who was whom, leaving the visitor baffled. She had never heard of this story that our four/five year old children know so intimately and recount with such enjoyment. And she is almost seven! 

I have written about the benefits of the project approach, and about how music connects with language in the brain to form richer concepts, and improve long term memory. But what about what I consider to be the dirty little secret in early childhood education? Many practitioners do not know how to or want to share the realms of art with young children because they themselves do not feel comfortable with them (the realms, that is). My adult students are usually enthusiastic about learning new ways to provide arts experiences, but many teachers have difficulty envisioning going beyond the traditional format of providing pre-cut pieces of paper or even coloring sheets to cut out and form scenes or stick puppets, or other "art". Thinking outside the box is possible but going there? Maybe not. Using classical music is considered great for "calming" children but giving them the experience of music and drama? Maybe not. If teachers think that learning about new children's authors is exciting and fun, they do not always think so about learning to appreciate opera and ballet. Yet young children are so drawn to these forms of art when the teacher is also open and enthusiastic about them.

What is needed is training that demonstrates to teachers that they can learn about anything new (as they expect their students to). Just as they learn about sea life to teach about it, they can learn about Mozart (start with Mozart's Magic Fantasy). They can explore Wikipedia and YouTube. They can talk to friends who are familiar with these theater arts and ask questions. Just as children ask questions to learn, so can we, the "big kids" who teach them. The teacher's brain must continue to make connections in order to be fresh and open to everything children can learn. And they must not underestimate their own ability to learn, anymore than they do their students'.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Finishing a Project and Reflecting on Arts-based learning.

Our Pre-K children performed their version of Mozart's  Magic Flute yesterday morning. Mozart wouldn't have recognized much of it, nor would have the librettist, Emanuel Schikaneder. But I expect they would have enjoyed the enthusiasm, and comic proclivities of the children performing their Singspiel. Mozart and Schikaneder created this work, Mozart's only one in their native German, as a folk opera, one that would appeal to the average Austrian. The music, however, is anything but average. Thus it mesmerized many of children from the moment they heard it. Young children are born to love music of all genres and types. They are genetically predisposed to it., as Oliver Sacks says in his book Musicophilia. 

Doing an opera (however truncated and strangely nonsensical ours was) can be challenging in preschool. Since ours is a childcare program as well as preschool, our "events" aren't always planned in conjunction with parents'. Our Papageno (the boy who said he was interested in this rich, comic part) left for Lebanon with his parents along with his twin brother the Dragon. Our stately Queen of the Night found out she was going camping on a Thursday when our performance was Friday. So our Sarastro was promoted to Papageno, (I cut Sarastro. My husband, being a baritone with bass tendencies, was horrified.) My teaching partner, Sue, who had been in Florida the whole week of rehearsals, stepped in as the Queen of the Night, and I gleefully subbed in as the Dragon. One of the three ladies left for Iran to visit relatives before we performed. The two left declared themselves the "Two Ladies", which solved that casting problem. Children solve our difficulties more easily than we do, and with much less angst. 

But, oh, the hilarity and joy of it: Monostatos and his henchman going from a state of fierce depravity (chasing Pamina around the stage) to one of delighted dancing at the sound of Papageno's bells (toilet paper tubes taped together and strung with jingle bells). Tamino trying to kill the dragon (me) with his cardboard sword and then feigning a faint so that the Two Ladies could bend over him and say how handsome he was (a sturdy girl played the Prince--she jumped at the chance). Papageno dancing a Snoopy dance facing the parents and younger children like a trooper while I played his introductory music. Yes, we used music liberally. My only regret is that I am not more technically savvy so that I could line up a series of music files of just the right portions. A young staffer told me, too late, that it could be done. "Oh, Brave New World..."!

All of the props, from the magic flute itself, Papageno's pan pipes and magic bells, to the lock for Papageno's mouth, were made by the children during activity time over the course of two weeks. The sets were made by the children with design help from my partner, Sue. I "directed" and stage-managed but gave the cast as much freedom as I could to interpret their roles. The "Two Ladies" took it upon themselves to let me know when I had forgotten anything. The children too shy to talk onstage were happy to become the animals enchanted by Tamino's flute.

With the interest in the arts in early childhood growing, it is dispiriting to hear from my adult students about how impoverished many of our programs still are in this regard. How better to promote literacy, fine motor skills, long-term memory, and body/brain integration than to give them a story with music that they themselves are willing to do? How better to nurture design (cognitive/spatial abilities) than to ask them to come up with a prop created with cardboard, paper, straws, tape and buttons? Teacher scaffolding replaces teacher creating, teacher dictating. Children gain confidence in their own abilities. Along the way they hone all of their skills. How freeing this approach is! 

Yes, it is work. It is absolutely so much easier for teachers to follow set lesson plans year after year, using the usual themes and activities. Children will respond to these. They are generous souls. They don't know that there is a better way. 

Using the arts (and I mean art, not craft) as a road to learning motivates children to do their best and be proud of the results. And it doesn't require magic.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A little Reggio, a little Vygotsky: A snapshot of how to provide arts experiences for young children.

We discussed in "staff meeting", which is our version of the Reggio Emilia approach to teacher collaboration, how we wanted a new set of materials for our art shelf. This shelf is an array of materials children can use on their own to create art. We had sequins, buttons, pipe cleaners and paper out and decided we needed to go natural for a while. There was a lively discussion about how, using natural materials could end up being colorless, or at least multiple shades of brown. So it was decided that some paint would make it into the mix.

We brought a tray of paints and fat brushes outside. Children gathered thin sticks and brought them to the picnic table for painting. "That one's mine", one girl told me later. "I'm going to use it in my art". Luckily there were several deep blue sticks so that she ultimately could claim whichever one looked like "hers".

On the lowest shelf of the art center inside we placed small squares of corrugated cardboard. Above that are bowls with seeds saved from years past that never made it into the ground. Tiny shells and stones, some of which I brought from the Jersey Shore invite children to touch and examine them. I added non-toxic "Tacky glue" so that the heavier items would adhere. Children worked with intense concentration on constructing their art with some help from teachers. Here are several samples.
I am looking forward to seeing what the children do with these materials, and what else they decide to bring to the mix. Building upward isn't something they think of instinctively and my teaching partner, Sue, taught some of them to "go up". By the end of the month I know we'll have a collection of masterpieces. 

Art in preschool is always process art. I have written about the importance, though, of demonstrating  new ways to use materials so that they learn by example. Vygotsky wasn't against this approach. On the contrary, he said that children learn through social interaction. How they express themselves depends on the quality of the environment, and that includes the quality of interactions with more experienced children and adults. Adults can give children permission to explore and delve more deeply. Sometimes they need just that little push to go further than they thought they could. 

I don't recommend coercion or taking over, but the reason we as early childhood educators say, "Great job!" all the time is because we want children to feel good about their work, and fear discouraging them. But we have neglected the needs of children to be taken seriously. We give them encouragement to pursue their ideas at our center, and offer new and different ways of looking at things. Children will benefit to the degree with which they are developmentally ready. That's all we have the right to hope for!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Magic of Magic Flute

How does a caring, creative teaching team engage fours and fives in a unifying project that engages even the most "too cool for school"? Our boys, especially, are routinely engrossed in Ninjas and Ninjago. The girls are getting there in their own way, also. Curses! Teachers foiled again by the cultural garbage fed to the children by commercial interests! What stories compel, entrance, motivate? Those with great music, of course.

Last year our children were totally engrossed in Peter and the Wolf. You can read about that in this blog. By simply telling a story and playing the music the children dove in. This time the story, having a prince, a princess, evil Queen, a good "King", and comic characters ("I want to be Papageno!!!"), not to mention "men at arms", has something for everyone. The second picture here is of ladies crouched over the ailing Tamino and the dead dragon ("Dragon! I'll be the dragon!). Our dress-ups are put to good use. The "hollow blocks" provide a stage. My teaching partner, Sue, had allowed the children to build a stage before I arrived. They'd clamored for one.

We discussed all the possibilities in staff meeting. The girls and two boys want to put on a Magic Flute play. I want them to sing what they say. One little girl is already doing that with relish. But other boys aren't interested in performing. One is interested in the story. Could he be a stage-manager? Since we just closed down our repair shop in the dramatic play center, could the repair shop addicts build sets?  Already some were making props (pan pipes out of straws and tape, anyone?). If we made costumes for the men in arms would anyone be tempted to wear a breastplate and carry a spear? It might be tempting. Sue worried about some of the more adult parts of the opera. I'm charged with writing a script for the children that is kid-friendly. Wish me luck!

An explanation about media used in this project so far. I started with the CD Mozart's Magic Fantasy, which is a pastiche about the opera with little children and the dragon thrown in. My children loved it when they were little. This drew our preschoolers in. I also own a DVD of Bergman's Magic Flute, and showed them scenes from it. This gave them an understanding of how it is a theatrical production and not a drama or cartoon. Ingmar Bergman created this film with the intention of making it look like a nineteenth century stage production. It is charming, sweet, and loving. Also very funny. With all of the discussion in early childhood circles on not showing videos in school we miss the boat if we simply ban them. Videos can be like storybooks: Tools for learning, providers of materials for discussion, introductions to the world of art and music. So do use them when it is an integral part of a whole project. They can be very helpful.

I will tell you more as we proceed! This promises to be an adventure, and a growth experience for teachers as well!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sexy in Preschool?

A little girl's father came to me yesterday with a most remarkable audio recording he made of his daughter telling him about what she learned at a birthday party. "It's  sexy lady. Everybody wants to see you naked and see if it's beautiful. I was thinking about sexy boys. To be naked and everybody see if it's beautiful."

Now before you drop your teeth please understand that a four and a half year old girl is not acquainted with the logistics of the song, "Sexy Lady". Children this age are acquainted with each other's bodies, because they see each other in the potty all day, if they are in child care. But the idea of pleasure at looking at each others' bodies isn't on their minds they way it is with adults.They may feel pleasure but it is not what adults understand to be sexual.  They don't understand "Damn girl you drive me crazy. I wont stop until the panties drop..."! 

But what are parents filling their children's minds with by playing songs with sexual lyrics around their children so often that the children can sing the words? And we wonder why children's clothing has become over-sexualized. 

My class is listening to Mozart's Magic Flute. They are making puppets, dressing up as the characters, writing stories, and enjoying all of the archetypal energies associated with the story. 
The girls love the story of the Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina, and want to be the evil Queen of Night. The boys are fascinated both by Tamino with his sword and flute, and Papageno with his pipes. They are trying on identities through the music and story. Isn't this a better way to enrich children's musical vocabulary? They can dance to sexy songs later!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Our Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle
Cardboard and duct tape go far in our classroom. After some study of space and a visit to the Air and Space Museum, two talented teachers built a space shuttle for the dramatic play area. As I've written before, dramatic play is where children practice their new knowledge and connect it to what they already know. Using dramatic play for learning language, social skills, math, and every other area of development is the sine qua non of early childhood education. I teach about it in my course, Art, Music and Movement for Young Children.

In our center found objects are more valuable than commercial ones, so the control panels, the heat tiles, and whatever mechanical innards we need are made with old tubing, tape, bottle caps, clips, straws, cork, and anything else we can find. Commercial products do not teach little ones about process. Something already made reinforces the idea that everything you need you can buy online, and you aren't a part of a creative process. Children learn through the process of exploration and invention. As my friend, Rae Pica, wrote in her recent Huffington Post blog, learning about child development should be required for all early childhood (and late childhood!) educators. Children cannot learn through their senses, intellect, and emotions if they are treated as if they are older than they are.

In our space shuttle some of the control panels were created by the children, and some by ingenious adults using a colorful assortment of junk.
Children made art for mission control (the loft) and used developmental spelling to reflect on the theme. They worked under the loft with tools to "fix" any problems the shuttle had, and did "space walks" with tethers, wearing home-made oxygen tanks. Having read stories about space walks  the children understood the use of these devices.

Rae's blog suggests that there are still people out there who doubt the effectiveness of this type of project approach even though it has been the cutting edge of education for all ages for some time. If any of these folk spent some time talking to our children about space and rockets they would soon find out that children do learn through the power of projects that recognize the process of learning, and of development. Conversations with children who have experienced this type of learning should be required before parents send their children to school for the first time.
Adult-created panel
Answers to a question
Oxygen supply

Child-created panel

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Can the Arts Save Education?

Can the Arts Save Education?

Okay, I'm done.
No, seriously, the arts are the new go-to solution for failing schools.

We have tried extrinsic rewards, or "positive reinforcement" through certificates, stars, stickers, contests, jellybean jars, and praise ("good job!"). We have tried testing out the wazoo, tying test scores to teacher pay (a miserable form of behavior modification that fails our children so why try it with teachers?). We have tried speeches and grand-standing. We've tried firing teachers. Has any of this improved test scores or even stopped the downward slide in many schools?


The definition of insanity is doing the same sort of thing over and over again, expecting that the next time it will work. How we have been trying to improve education is, by that definition, insane.

The arts are instrinsically motivating. The arts instill not only discipline but a desire to pursue discipline because that discipline helps the individual to improve at what they most love doing. Pursuing an artistic endeavor nurtures self-esteem and integrates the mind, body and emotions. Teaching through the arts motivates children to go more deeply into a subject because they are more committed to the process of learning. Finally, states are getting serious about giving the arts their due. "There's lots of evidence that kids immersed in the arts do better on their academic tests".  In many schools children are being taught through project work that includes some art form, be it music, movement, drama or dance. You won't find this in the school just around the corner, necessarily, but it is happening out there.

I have written extensively about project work and arts integration in early childhood, specifically in preschool. During the Bush years my graduate professors often spoke wistfully about how preschool education was ahead of elementary education. High-stakes testing and the emphasis on teaching reading and math to elementary school children through "scientific" methods have failed to live up to their promise.

Teaching and learning through the arts gives children the juice, the food they need to want to learn. It is satisfying and intrinsically rewarding to create, using new knowledge and information, with the guidance of a teacher who understands integrating curriculum and artistic work. Children are hungry for this. Let's feed them.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Creating in Three Dimensions

Three dimensional construction is a mainstay of the preschool curriculum. In my school we have a center for these small wooden blocks, a large muscle rug for the huge wooden blocks we call "hollow blocks", and we also stock plastic milk crates in two outdoor closets on our playground. Construction is very popular among both boys and girls. And since there has been an ongoing major construction project across the street, construction has become even more meaningful. The children see the steps of real building going on in their neighborhood.

In this photo the children have constructed a zoo. We haven't gone to the zoo (to be arranged) but when we brought out the plastic animals the children saw their opportunity and took it! Their passion is intense. They cooperate in ways that are amazing for three and four year old children. They don't stop and ask why we have blocks. The reasons to them are self-evident.

Why do we use blocks in preschool? Do children play with blocks in first, second or third grade? Why aren't we sitting them down and making them do workbooks? Why aren't we asking them to make Winter pictures of snowmen since so many children's books equate snow with Winter, regardless of the fact that many regions of the world have no snow at all? Why aren't we drilling them on letters and numbers, rewarding them with stickers for correct answers?

Because we know that what the children are passionate about are also interests that lead to a broader and richer development of their talents and abilities. What children learn through block play is how to manipulate three-dimensional objects in space. They learn to visualize what they want to accomplish before they even take out a single block. The more practice they have, the more accurate their visualizations become. Over time their creations become more complex and intricate, not to mention surprisingly skilled. They are practicing Spatial intelligence. Schools beyond preschool have traditionally neglected it (see the above link). These skills are devalued by traditional schools when they could become an integral part of a child's future. This is a vacuum in education that needs to be filled.

Kindergarten, first and second grade are still considered early childhood by all experts in the field. Yet recess drops to almost zero, children are asked to sit still way too much for their growing bodies and intelligences, and they are asked to do work and take tests that have no relevance to their actual futures. Learning is dynamic. Children are active learners who have all of Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences in their growing brains and bodies. Let's continue to exploit these intelligences into the early elementary school years. They will learn to read and write and compute, but they will do so in an organic way that includes engagement and interest in truly creative work