Reggio-L Listserv  Ongoing Discussion about the Reggio Emilia Approach
Judy Harris Helm   Fine projects, useful books.
Videos of children working, from Tom Drummond, 2013 here.

New Zealand Early Childhood Development Unit
Canadian Early Child Care & Education Journal


ECRP Early Childhood Research & Practice Journal
NAEYC National Association for the Education of Young Children


Projects Webpage from Sylvia Chard

Center for Child Care Workforce Resources to improve working in early childhood education

TAWL more information


Renee Goularte’s Share to Learn page
Debbie Reese keeps us informed about appropriate ways to teach children
about Native Americans (American Indians) on her very fine webpage.

My Bibliographies


Staying Within (PDF file)
A remarkable article about young children and art (with illustrations) from Canada, written 2000.

Katie Fairlie Writes About Coloring Books

Note from Sydney:
We were having a discussion about coloring books on the Creative Curriculum listserv,
and this wonderful posting came from Kate Fairlie in Australia.  I think it is important
for early childhood people to have, so I got her permission to post it here. 

Kate wrote:
I was reading all the posts of coloring books and funnily enough, today one
appeared out of a child’s bag.

I didn’t run screaming and tell them ‘never bring that terrible thing here again’
although  I am not the least bit interested in providing coloring activities of any type
to our program, and I would never want anyone to get the idea that coloring
books or similar activities are ok with me, or that I feel they are
developmentally appropriate.

BUT … an interesting thing happened … we had a lovely time looking at
the pictures in the coloring book and the child who brought it in had not
colored in a single one, nor did she want to. In fact when asked by a friend
if they could colour in her book she looked shocked and replied “books are
not for drawing on … get some paper!” so they sat down together with plain
paper and looked at the book, they choose a picture of dolphins and started
to draw, almost copy the pictures, then added items from their own
imagination. They both drew amazing pictures with lots of life and color
then set about learning to write ‘dolphin’ and various other words. So the
coloring book, like so many other books we have in our room became a
resource, something the children could look at to stimulate ideas or to help
their own ideas become clearer.

The coloring book wasn’t nearly as good as if we had had a book with real
photographs of dolphins, but I think it was the differences between it and
our regular books that intrigued the girls. The clear, neat lines and pictures
seemed to inspire a different kind of drawing. One said to the other “see this
picture has all black lines … I am going to draw all the lines first and  then
color them.”

Even though today’s activities were interesting and very intriguing for me,
I still don’t see this story as justification for bringing in coloring books. I can
see we might have a few coloring books brought in by the children this
week, and that’s ok, but I can’t see reason to supply them myself. What
purpose do they serve? Why waste my time and money on copying sheets or
buying books when it is better spent on copying the children’s drawing and
buying new markers and pastels? There are soooo many other drawings we
never have time to make on our own, why waste time filling in a drawing
made by somebody else?

But then that magical phrase ‘it depends’ comes in … and I can see
despite my dislike of coloring books how one might help a child with special
needs practice fine motor control… but then I can also see a million
other ways to accomplish that without diminishing creativity!  I guess I
just hear too many refrains of  “I can’t draw it right” or “It doesn’t look proper”
at my drawing centre to let me see anything good about coloring books!

I guess one thing I picked up the sort of disappoints me … that teachers are
being dictated to by their supervisors … being told “ban coloring books”. I
think that’s scary.  I agree with the no coloring books idea, but what good is
it to just dictate the rules without any discussion or understanding as to why?
Well, I guess this is where the list comes in!

Hmmm … an interesting discussion … sorry to ramble on!

That’s Kate’s wonderful explanation about why she doesn’t use coloring

Another member of the listserv gave us a list of teacher
consciousness levels she learned at the Leading Edge Training
sponsored by NAEYC:

  • Unconsciously Incompetent,
  • Consciously Incompetent,
  • Unconsciously Competent, and
  • Consciously Competent.

We must all grow toward Conscious Competence, and we all can!  Warmly, Sydney