Recently a number of our educators attended a conference with Ann Pelo, an American early childhood educator. Whilst some of us had seen her before, we were not completely prepared for the thoughtful and challenging work we would undertake together.
Pelo is an advocate for inquiry in early childhood education, championing collaborative learning between children and educators as they engage in shared wondering about the world. She asked many questions of us, helping us to explore who we are as educators, why we do what we do and make the choices we make, what we value about our work, and how we can make our work and children’s learning visible.
We were left with many questions, none of which have easy answers, and all of which we will continue to ask ourselves for a long time to come. Many of these centre on the role of documentation in our work, and how we support children’s learning through inquiry. There was a focus on educators not knowing, that we are not encyclopedias imparting vast amounts of information, but rather that we are learners alongside children. Educators were positioned as people who ask questions. Asking ourselves excellent questions helps us to reflect more deeply on our work as educators, and to discover different and better ways to work with children. This helps us ask children better questions.
We are wondering…
What kind of people do we want to be? What kind of world do we want to live in?
What is the purpose of learning and education?
Who is this child and what has their attention? Who is this educator and what has their attention?
What is the question within the question?
What do children care to think about?
What do your children need from you in order to move more deeply into the practice of inquiry?