Can you remember the world of movement, wonder, and intense sensation that you lived in when you were six years old? Does education mean filling a bucket or does it mean lighting a fire?
In today's predominant educational environment, where high-stakes testing and anxiety reign, it's clear that the goal, though implicit, is to fill buckets. Kim Allsup would like us to start lighting fires--to stop treating children like empty buckets. She sees that the vital essence of education has been sucked out of most schools today; that we must strive, above all, to it bring it back; and that the situation is indeed urgent. Yet this book contains no arguments--it is not a change-of-policy proposal, nor is it a polemical treatise.
Kim Allsup is a teacher and a teller of stories, and so this book, to look only at the surface, tells the story of the six years a teacher spent with her class. However, it does much more than that. Funny, poignant, moving, relatable, and finally, life-affirming, and hopeful, this memoir gently shows the way to an educational approach that is worthy of childhood--one rooted in wonder.
Wonder is a challenging word. It has been overused and commercialized and its true definition is perhaps endangered, but it is nevertheless a uniquely human experience, and to stifle or remove it from the lives of our children is to court a barren and dismal future--yet wonder remains alive! We may need only to be reminded of it.
This story is a living reminder of the simple beauty of childhood wonder and our responsibility to the future never to give it up.
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Working with Wonder
20. Turning Point
25. Main Lessons
27. School as It Should Be