Happy new year Art Play Children Learning followers!
I hope you have all had a wonderful break. 2020 is well underway for all of us and if you are like me, you will have lots of hopes and ambitions for the year ahead. Sometimes these can be exciting and sometimes these can make one feel overwhelmed.
My attitude is to always try to do my best to keep one foot moving in front of the other, even if they are just little steps and always stay open to the unexpected things that happen along the way.
I have some exciting news to share with you all! I am starting a new job this year. I will be working at Harvard University as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Early Childhood Education. I am really excited about it and will be moving to Boston next week to get started. I have never lived in the United States before and have never even visited Cambridge, Massachusetts so am curious to see what it is like.
I obviously feel a little nervous about the move to a new city (and a new continent at that) but once the basics are sorted of finding an apartment, setting up a bank account, finding an Australian coffee shop (!) and meeting my colleagues, I will feel a lot more settled.
Actually, I think I am going to really enjoy life in Cambridge as I have heard such wonderful things about Harvard Graduate School of Education and the extremely committed people who work there.
The project I am working on will be based in preschools across the Boston Public School system. The research is part of a larger initiative put in place by the Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is rolling out free to attend 4-year-old kindergarten to all children across Boston. I will be working with teachers and children in the preschools who are a part of this. I am really excited about this opportunity as I love working directly with educators and people who are passionate about supporting children’s learning.
It will also be really interesting to learn more about the public education system in America. I have worked on a similar early childhood project in Australia however, unlike the United States, Australia has a national early year’s framework that is followed by the vast majority of preschools.
The education system in the U.S. is a lot more fragmented with basically each city council following its own curriculum. This isn’t necessarily better or worse but it is certainly different and it means that the way early years curriculum operates is different too.
I am also planning to start work on writing my book this year, which will basically share the key outcomes of my PhD. This will be a book for parents that looks at how artists’ exploration of materials can be used to support children’s learning through play with materials.
At the moment, I am a bit over writing academic publications and I find the thought of collaborating with parents and teachers really inspiring. The book is still very much a work in progress but stay tuned!
Next time you hear from me, I will probably be in Boston. If you live in the area or know of any interesting kid’s art things in Massachusetts please let me know! I will certainly be visiting the Boston Children’s Museum, the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum as soon as I have a chance.
So that’s my big news for this week!
Has anyone else started a new job this year? Perhaps we can go through this crazy time together.
Five key early childhood educators! A post for parents