Childhood Education Innovations

Inspiration for transforming education

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Childhood Education: Innovations provides unique, stimulating information about educational programs around the world. Articles explore solutions to specific challenges affecting schools, teachers, and learners and showcase the most recent ideas and innovations being developed and implemented to address those challenges. Readers will find inspiration and guidance for transforming education to better serve children and society. Published 6 times a year, CE Innovations provides a window into the work being done to bring quality, equitable education to all children.

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May/June 2021

“Creativity at BEEP Lab in Singapore”
BEEP Lab is the first school of design and architecture for children and youth in Singapore. The mission at this design thinking creative lab is to engage, enrich, and empower young learners to spark their creativity and nurture in them a sense of stewardship toward the built, natural, and cultural environments in which we live. Since its founding, BEEP Lab has curated over hundreds of interactive and intentional design thinking in-person and Zoom workshops, camps, and events, which have impacted over 1,000 children in Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and China.

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“Transforming Lives of Indigenous Youth: Social-emotional learning in Guatemala”
Guatemala faces many challenges to its development that contribute to an underperforming education system with outdated methodologies and student engagement techniques, resulting in missed opportunities for today’s youth. This is especially true for Indigenous girls, who experience disproportionate effects of marginalization in Guatemala. To create systemic and comprehensive change, MAIA applies socioemotional learning tools to alter the realities of Indigenous youth in rural communities.

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“Engaging Rural Communities in Mexico: Educating youth and their families during a pandemic”
As the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread in early 2020, young and old alike needed to understand the science of virology and how to protect themselves and others. In response to this critical need, the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) to create a community research guide called COVID-19! How Can I Protect Myself and Others?, which focused on the protective behaviors necessary to ensure public health. To bring this knowledge to communities in rural Mexico, the SSEC collaborated with INNOVEC to engage young people.

“Learning and Literacy Through Image-Based Story”
New problems will always require new solutions. Innovations and inventions don’t always work as planned; sometimes they work even better than planned, providing unexpected and accidental benefits. The story of Chatta follows a journey that began with attempts to solve a new and concerning problem, and led to success and impact in many more ways than could have been imagined. The journey began with the question: Could the power of digital devices be used to help parents talk more with their children?

“Moving Toward Social Justice Through Crisis and Change”
High school student Sophia Stein writes: “Despite the many challenges my peers and I have had to face, I think we’ve all gained one experience out of the pandemic that certainly qualifies as a silver lining. Throughout quarantine, I have witnessed young adults in the United States becoming more knowledgeable, active, and conscious participants in the country’s fight for social and political justice. As critical as our mainstream education is, this new type of learning is preparing us to be conscious, kind, and capable citizens.”

“Innovating for Children’s Well-Being and Global Citizenship”
Educon International School (EIS) has been in the forefront of adapting and integrating 21st-century best practices for education and is ranked as one of the top five innovative teaching schools in India. EIS is successfully implementing the concept of a “Living School,” imparting a curriculum for excellence through holistic well-being pedagogy and education for global citizenship. The goal at EIS is to enable each student to be a successful learner, a confident individual, a responsible Citizen, and an effective contributor. The holistic well-being approach focuses on harmoniously developing all dimensions of the human being, including the intellectual, the emotional, the physical, and the creative dimensions.

“The Italian Makerspace”
Italian makerspace is based on the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach founded by Loris Malaguzzi, in which the environment plays a critical role in children’s development. Malaguzzi believed that the makerspace is the third teacher1 (joining family and classroom teachers), and children express themselves through a “hundred languages” of creativity. The hundred languages approach is reflective of the multiple ways of expression that individuals have at their disposal; this expression of identity occurs naturally through exploration of materials and tools in the makerspace. The physical Reggio Emilia makerspace is distinctive, with the use of natural, recyclable materials. Recyclable materials of various textures, colors, and patterns are used; various tools are available for exploring the materials. Developing a maker mindset and designing a learning environment conducive to makerspace go hand-in-hand.

“Transforming Language Intervention: Collaborating with Latinx families”
The importance of Latinx family involvement in homebased interventions should not be overlooked. We know when families are included in the intervention, increases in the children’s language skills have been reported and taught skills can be generalized as parents reinforce positive behaviors to other settings. Therefore, a primary goal when working within a family-centered and collaborative setting is to consider how best to engage with Latinx families in ways that develop their confidence and knowledge that will help them generalize specific language strategies to their everyday routines and lives.

“How Head Start Addressed COVID-19 Challenges”
This article describes the innovation and creativity employed in an early childhood program, motivated by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge the teacher educators faced was to modify our final practicum experience requirements so that they could be completed online without forfeiting the opportunity for a teacher candidate to understand young children’s unique qualities and course of development and learning.

“Breaking Down the Barriers to Enjoyable Reading”
The Omoguru innovation began with an approach to font as something dynamic. To be responsive to the variety of needs experienced by dyslexics, the font would need to have the capability to be adjusted for each individual. At the same time, it needed to look like usual fonts used everywhere around us. The goal was that, in time, the readers would not be dependent on any support. The Omoguru web application enables users to read existing content, or create and collaborate on new content. Students can read, do their school assignments, take tests, or write papers together.

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