Last week EduTopia had a great article and video on Auburn Early Education Center, a kindergarten learning center with a project-based curriculum approach. The students featured in the video are having fun using interactive whiteboards for research, reading lessons and shared writing. The school has adopted meaningful practices from Responsive Classroom and every class conducts a Morning Meeting each day. Teachers are using effective strategies from Lucy Calkins and Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. I applaud the AEEC teachers who have worked very hard to embed technology into PBL and high quality literacy instruction. The kindergartners love school.
There were some glaring omissions in the article and video. I did not see easels for painting, blocks for building, scales, clay or sand for creating, or prisms, magnets, scales and other tools for investigating the real world. These are essential elements of quality early childhood and primary classrooms. Verbal skills are important and technology is a wonderful tool and expressing but children need more than screens and words. The video below, Why Do These Kids Love School, is almost twenty years old so it does not feature technology that can enrich today's classrooms. It remains an excellence portrayal of kind of schools our children deserve. Watch it- you will not forget it. The video is almost one hour long. If time is limited I recommend viewing from the sections that begins about 21/2 minutes into the film and ends at about 35 minutes.