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!