THE MAGIC OF CHILDREN'S PLAY!'

About Me

I am a preschool teacher, working in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. My personal philosophy of EC education has evolved over the years from a thorough knowledge of child development theory and a strong desire to understand how young children think and learn. My teaching practice has been influenced significantly by three important intellectual traditions: Howard Gardner’s theory of “Multiple Intelligences”; European and American strands of “Progressive Education”; and, Piagetian and Vygotskian “Constructivist Psychologies”.

In more recent times, I have become inspired by the philosophies and practices of “Reggio Emilia” and “Te Whariki”. I believe that children learn best when experiences are personally meaningful extensions of their own interests, experiences and investigations. The curriculum should ’emerge’ directly from the children, and the children should be encouraged and supported to explore and investigate interests that they are ‘inwardly driven to face’. Children come to us equipped with many strengths, competencies and capabilities. There seems to be no limits to their imagination, creativity, curiosity and inquiry. They are typically “learning optimists”.

Comments on: "About Me" (20)

  1. I am so inspired! Thanks for sharing your ideas and passion with a larger community! I own and ec community in the united states. We also have been influenced by many philosophies. However, the Reggio philosophy has spoken to us. I actually studied in Sweden and saw the Reggio philosophy integrated. It blew me away! This was a large part of why I wanted to create an early childhood community!
    Our community is very receptive to the ideas of willow & sprout. It is so important that our community values and supports an emerging eArly childhood community! Thanks again for sharing! It has continued my own passion!

  2. Hi Jen, lovely to hear from you! I will pop over and have a look at your blog. Always open to sharing and learning along with fellow EC community! 🙂

  3. Hi, please have a look at EARLY PLAY AUSTRALIA an early childhood community because we would love you to join.

    • Hi Lesley,

      Thank you for coming by and looking at ‘Flights of Whimsy’. I have already joined EARLY PLAY AUSTRALIA through ‘google connect’, if this is what you mean???

      Regards Karen 🙂

  4. CourtneyJane. said:

    Hi Karen, I have just read through your whole blog and am feeling very inspired! Your preschool looks like its huge! Could you post a floor plan or layout of your outdoor area please? I’m aware that environmental design is very fluid and constantly changes to meet the children’s needs but always intrigued by other centre’s layouts. Thanks 🙂

    • Wow Courtney, thank-you! I am so glad you have found my blog useful to you. Now, you have set me a challenge there Courtney, but I will see what I can do! I am quite snowed under at work at the moment with ‘Transition Reports’, ‘AGM’ prep’… etc. etc. So, if it doesn’t happen immediately, rest assured I haven’t forgotten! And yes, we do have a big playground for which we are very fortunate. We are in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, so when this preschool was built back in the 1970’s, there would have been ample available land! 🙂

  5. Hi Karen,

    I just found your awesome Cloud Dough. I am a community management assistant at Instructables.com, the largest project-sharing site with over 60k projects all submitted by our users, and I just know our community would love to see this project!

    I would be happy to feature your project on our site if you decide to post the instructions there and help get it noticed among our 11 million visitors. Let me know if you have any questions!

    Best, Nicole

  6. I am so happy I found your website. I homeschool my (growing out of preschool) children and am always in search of inspiration and new ideas. I am definitely going to try out some of your projects (especially the cloud dough, even though it isn’t really their age anymore ;D ). Your website is just so full of inspiration. Thank you.

    • I am glad you have found some of the ideas presented here useful ‘dragonsnbottlecaps’, and thank you for your kind thoughts! 🙂

  7. Hey, Karen, this may mean absolutely nothing to you but I want to congratulate you upon your blog’s selection as this month’s ISTE SIGVE Blog-o’-the-Month at our new home in Second Life at ISTE SIGVE. I blogged it moments ago as I completed the display for it “inworld.” You can read about it at http://scottsecondlife.blogspot.com/2012/04/happy-april-no-foolin-flights-of-whimsy.html — Kind regards, and again, congratss!

    Scott

    • You are right there Scott, I have no knowledge of this site or the nomination process. Several of my ECE blogging friends are puzzled by this too. Nonetheless I thank you for your kind words and appreciate that you have found my blog of interest and value.

      Karen 🙂

  8. Johanna Mayne said:

    Hi Karen,
    Just wondering where your pre-school is as l need a centre to do my work placement (diploma) and would love to experience a centre as yours with such fantastic philosophies as yours etc. Please email me.

  9. Brooke Steinfort said:

    Hi, I was wondering if you could email me where your preschool is? I’ve just moved to the Eastern suburbs and am looking for a preschool like yours sounds, for my gorgeous boy for next year. I am currently trying to implement a Reggio theme to our days and lives, and would love to find somewhere for him that incorporates that. Thanks!!

  10. Hi Karen, I’m looking for a kinder that is play based in eastern suburbs. Just wondering where about is your kinder.
    Thanks

  11. Hi Karen, love your blog!!! I am a kindergarten teacher in Canada, My kids are in the process of “discovering our world” and were very curious about life in other countries (particularly that do not get snow) they have written a letter and created a video about things they do in the snow.. and would like to connect to countries who do not experience our weather. Would your class be interested in responding?? Thanks so much,
    Jayla

  12. Joanne Esser said:

    I love your blog! I am a Reggio-inspired pre-kindergarten teacher in Minnesota in the USA. My school has granted me a sabbatical for January through March of 2015, and I plan to travel to Australia. My goal is to visit exemplary early childhood education programs and attend some early childhood conferences while I am in Australia. I would love to visit your program and get recommendations for other good places to visit when I am in Australia next year.

    Thanks!

  13. Lisa Dixon said:

    Yours is my favourite ECE blog, I’m constantly sharing your pictures on Facebook, they resonate so strongly with me!

  14. Hi Karen! So happy to have discovered your blog… I love your fairy gardens! My grandmother used to help me build fairy gardens on her farm when I was young… sweet memories you are building with your pre-schoolers!

    Anyway, I work with a brain break resource for elementary classrooms. We are USA based, but hoping to spread the word in Australia! I hunted around for your email to no avail. If you are interested in checking it out and reviewing it, I’d love to hear from you.

    Cheers!
    Holly

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