As educators, we find inspiration from many educational theories of practice. We become attracted to the words and ideas of the philosophy. We enjoy the look of the classroom environments or the inspirational words discovered in books and online publications about the philosophy. As we view images and read information about our favorite educational philosophies we desire to incorporate what they feature into our work with children.
In our enthusiasm for their work, we forget that for us other schools and philosophies of practice live only as a guidepost and our discoveries about their work are the culmination of a long learning journey.
The images and words we fall in love with represent theories of practice that have evolved over time and relate to the context of the people, time, and place where they originate. What we are embracing is the ideas that the philosophy proposes because they align with our own values about children, what we believe in as people, and what we wish to implement into our work. Our recognition that we embrace the ideals of a certain educational philosophy or multiple philosophies then invites us to embark on a journey.
To embrace and implement the possibilities of a new philosophy into our practice requires us as educators to adopt uncertainty, flexibility, and engage in reflective practice. Exploring the possibilities of our work with children is challenging. To invite change in an authentic way invites the danger of not being perfect and making mistakes along the way.
Our school environment is an ever-changing landscape from year to year. We incorporate new families and children in our classrooms while shaping a classroom culture that not only represents our beliefs about children, it incorporates the beliefs of the people involved in our learning community.
Defining our learning community is the journey we all accept in some form as practitioners. Our work begins in one place and continues on a journey of discovery and implementation of different ideas, until we arrive at the place where a mix of concepts embodies our school and teaching philosophy.
As time moves forward we document and evaluate our work with children and continue the cycle of exploring the possibilities of our practice.
Our work and beliefs do not represent a destination they represent a learning journey, to become better as people and educators to serve our learning community.