Author: Tara Papandrew

May
02

Seeking to understand and be understood

In the beginning community of three-, four-, five-, and six-year-olds, the teachers hope to cultivate courageous thinkers, collaborators, and change makers. We want the children to know — as we do — that their ideas, theories and stories can change the world. This year, the big idea that the children and adults are co-researching in […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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Feb
09

The most important word is yet

In Alder, a community of 3-5 year olds, we were curious how children approached problems. We noticed how eager they were to run and get the strategy ring to support friends in conflict. Their heightened interest in this problem-solving tool led us to make strategy rings as gifts for the other classrooms. The children offered […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Jan
10

When I feel sad sometimes I get angry

After cracking open the word friendship, we started investigating emotions through literature, materials and dialogue. After reading When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang, we asked, What happens in our bodies when we have a big feeling? And what do you do when you have that big feeling? The children offered strategies, […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
20

I can help

How might the process of creating, imagining, or inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community? This is one of the questions we included in our letter of intention. Playing with materials (and each other!) offers lots of opportunities for the children to make sense of the idea of community. We […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
12

Sitting in the pocket of a rhythm

After I wrote this story, I felt like it was too personal. I wondered if, although supported my thinking, it might not be worth publishing. Then I had a moment of serendipity. Nassrin and I were talking about her first few weeks at our school, and she shared her reflection that when Caroline teaches, it’s […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Sep
21

What is the relationship between playful inquiry and open systems?

At last week’s back-to-school night, I was asked to speak briefly about Playful Inquiry and open systems. I’m sharing what I said — for families who weren’t able to attend, for educators who read the blog to consider, and for those who were able to attend to revisit. I look forward to reading your responses!  At Opal […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Sep
12

Intentions: Transformation

Dear Families, In this complicated and uncertain world, we believe school is where we learn to be human. And right now, more than ever, we need people who can listen with empathy and understanding, imagine multiple possibilities, communicate their ideas in a variety of ways, and see challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. One […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Feb
14

Culture Makers + Word Breakers

The language we choose in our teaching changes the worlds children inhabit now and those they will build in the future. — Peter Johnston, Opening Minds At Opal School, the words we choose matter to us, and they are noticed as being distinctive by others. During a recent Q&A session with educators from another school district, […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
21

Riding the Chocolate Train

Within a social-constructivist context, shared experiences offer children a chance to build their understandings of themselves, each other, and the world. Earlier this week, the Cedar community visited the Farmer’s Market in downtown Portland. This rich environment — filled with a variety of colors, textures, flavors and scents — provided us with a memorable, multi-sensory experience. In the days […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
04

Partner Explore: Connecting with Materials, Ideas and Each Other

Recently, as the children have been getting more familiar with the routines and setting of school, they are becoming more comfortable with one another, too. As a result, they are revealing deeper expressions of who they are while testing the strengths and limits of their newfound friendships. This is a natural and important next phase for building trust […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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