Consulting: What I Do
I consult in person, by e-mail, and by telephone. I’ve invented something called SummerCamp (but it’s really year round) which allows people to come and study with me in greater depth. Follow the link above for more information. I give workshops and speeches. I influence good people doing good work with children For example, scroll down to Heidi Joyce and read to the end. Another example and, again, scroll down to the photo and text about working with me.
My three main areas of concern are:
A. Creative activity (art, music, drama, and more) for children, including the many lessons from Reggio Emilia, Italy, and from my research subject, Sylvia Ashton-Warner. (Here is a small sampling where I was interviewed about art by SUNY. The whole hour is discussed in SummerCamp.)
B. Learning that is driven by the interests and passions of the people in the classroom. Some people like to call this “hot cognition.” This includes Emergent Curriculum, Key Vocabulary, and the arts … but you’re beginning to see the overlap in my work, aren’t you?
C. The hard subjects: death and dying, divorce, sensitivity, transition to school, public calamities (this includes work around the Sept. 11, 2001 events, Challenger disaster, various earthquakes/bombings/assassinations, and most recently a big focus upon Children of Incarcerated Parents).
All of my workshops and consulting support a pro-diversity, developmentally appropriate, constructivist, whole child, learning-in-context commitment.
I believe that young children in institutions should receive care similar to the very best care young children can receive in homes, with the added delights of having other children to be their companions and work, make investigations, and play with them.
These dispositions and beliefs will likely come into any workshop I give, no matter what the subject. They aren’t out of the question, you know … during World War II well funded and well staffed programs were set up to entice women into the workforce, and it can — and must —- happen again.
All of my workshops are designed for grownups — teachers, caregivers, providers and parents — people who think about children under the age of eight. And all of the workshops are, to the greatest extent I can make them so, interactive, so the people present are constructing for themselves their own perspective on whatever I am presenting.
When I am asked to keynote I try to make that interactive, as, for instance, having people discuss and compare their experience to that of the person next to them. Some workshops are sensitive and must have a limited number of participants so they can really feel safe and get some work done.
Sometimes you need a paragraph about me for a conference flyer, etc. Here is one. I’ll be glad to make it longer or shorter to suit you, and ask that you have me do it, since sometimes what others write about m is surprising or even inaccurate. Thank you.
Sydney Gurewitz Clemens, an early childhood teacher for more than thirty years, is a widely recognized author and presenter on topics which involve hot cognition: children learning through things they are passionate about. These topics can be from the happy parts of life: early literacy, creativity, and many aspects of the work being done in Reggio Emilia, but they can also be from life’s painful parts, including divorce, death & dying, and parents in prison. Her three books, Pay Attention to the Children: Lessons for Teachers and Parents from Sylvia Ashton-Warner, The Sun’s Not Broken, A Cloud’s Just in the Way: On Child-Centered Teaching, and Seeing Young Children with New Eyes—What We’ve Learned From Reggio Emilia About Children and Ourselves are inspiring, practical, informative and a pleasure to read. (The books will be available for purchase the day of the event.)