Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
e. e. cummings
Ever since I left my own classroom in 2000, I thought that I would write a book about Choice Time. I felt (and feel) quite passionate about that time of the day when children mix inquiry and exploration with play. I talked with friends about this not-yet written book. When I worked with teachers in their classrooms and met with them in planning meetings, I talked about writing this book. I even wrote something on my blog bio about this unwritten book. All of this talk and thinking, however, didn’t lead me to feel confident enough to sit down and start writing.
This year, though, I finally sat down and began to write in earnest. Why now? Perhaps it was the urging and support of family and friends. Maybe a significant birthday loomed over me. The persistent confidence of Zoe White most certainly helped me to believe in myself and in the importance of what I had to say. I also think that the disturbing test-driven climate in education made me realize that this book is so important to get out before inquiry and exploration have no connection to a child’s school experiences.
So, I started writing. I worked really hard on drafting a table of contents that I think will speak to the many issues teachers face in setting up and facilitating exciting and relevant centers that allow children to use so many of Malaguzzi’s hundred languages to explore their world. I then wrote a complete chapter on Dramatic Play in pre-k through second grade classes. Zoe checked it over and gave me some editing advice and then she sent it out to Heinemann, where she works as an editor. They thought enough of what I had to say to take the next step and sent the chapter out for peer review.
The reviewers were very positive and yesterday I found out that Heinemann has offered to publish my book on an Inquiry-based Choice Time!
Now I’m ready to get to work. My next chapter to write will be on the classroom science center. It would be SO helpful to me if you could write in on the blog and share information about your science centers. What science programs are you using? If you don’t have a science center, what is preventing you from keeping one a part of your center time? All of this information will be very helpful in terms of my writing a chapter that will truly support early childhood teachers.
So, I’m sharing my almost breathless excitement with all of you! I want to thank the editors at Heinemann for recognizing the importance of exploration and play in the education of young children. I know that there’s a lot of hard work ahead in creating the book of my dreams but for now, I want to shout “yippee!” and celebrate!
This is positively fantastic! Congratulations!!!
Thank you Felice!
Congratulations!! And one of my very favorite publishers too!! Heinemann has always published quality books for children (I was a school librarian for 12 years before I had to retire, job cut). I also loved their catalog the best!!
I shared with you the science program I used in Berkeley in 1970. It was designed by my college Physics professor – who made us love physics by requiring, of all things, that we read Galileo by Bertolt Brecht. I don’t think his curriculum is still available sadly. So much of what we used was mimeographed in that awful smelly purple ink that didn’t last. I actually kept their homemade reading program which you would also have loved — by the teachers of the elementary school where I did field work. No publisher at the time would touch it, sadly.
Can’t wait to read your book!!
Thank you Joan. You have been a wonderful support!
Mazel Tov!!!! What great news!!! I am soooo excited for you and while I know you have lots of work to do…its a dream coming true and a welcome insight for the profession to be shared. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
Thank you so much Maureen! Lots of work ahead, but work that I’ll love doing.
Woot Woot!! SO excited for YOU!! Let me know if you want another readers eyes!!! You are an inspiration for sure!!
Tomasen, I ALWAYS want your opinion! Will you be at NCTE?
Congrats on your contract! I will look forward to the publication of this book. Great topic!
Thank you Pat! I hope I might see you at NCTE.
Renee, my development as an early childhood teacher was very largely based on the city-wide study group you led for kindergarten teachers back in 2001 – 2002. I’ve known since then that you have a great book inside you, and I’m thrilled that it will be coming to fruition.
Thank you Herb. It’s inspiring and dedicated teachers like you that keep my battery going!
Can’t wait to get my hands (and eyes) on your book!! Congratulations!
Thank you Betsy! Now I just must write it!
CONGRATULATIONS Renee! Wonderful news…and I completely understand how you feel about the huge road ahead of you! It’s a very exciting and rewarding one though. When you discover that the book that YOU wrote is in the hands of educators and actually making them think, wonder and imagine…well, it’s just amazing. I look forward to hearing how you are going with it when I’m in NY in April.
Thank you Lisa! I’m looking forward to hearing about all of the important work that you’re doing!
Renee, this is fantastic news. Congratulations! You are also one of my favorite writers, so accessible and inspiring. So looking forward this reading, highlighting and dog earring your book!
Thank you Susanne! I hope the book will live up to your expectations. I feel as though I’ve been writing it in my thoughts for years!
A dream come true and for you and many other teachers too! Choice Time is what breathes life into our classroom, creates momentum and passion for learning, and fills us back up after a long day of “other stuff”. The data and research in your book will provide so many of us wanting to do more to enrich our classrooms with the evidence to do so! Congratulations and thank you!!!
Renee, I love your post about the children interacting with art at the museum in London, and especially appreciate the contrast in engagement activities according to age. Also, congrats on the upcoming book! I always learn from your observations and analysis of what is occurring that makes learning both organic and exciting. Thanks.
Thank you Anne. I just spoke to Bill Fulbrecht and he described his visit to the UN School to watch you teach. He said it was magical. I must find time to visit you this year!
Happy New Year!