Childhood Education Innovations

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Childhood Education: Innovations is an education magazine that 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 innovations being developed and implemented to address those challenges. Readers will find inspiration 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. It stands alongside the Journal of Research in Childhood Education as one of our signature publications.

Sneak Peek of the July 2024 Issue

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CONTENTS
May/June 2024


“Unlocking Youth Expression: A Journey Through the 100cameras Innovative Curriculum”
Built on the premise of a world where youth actively shape their narratives, the 100cameras model emerged in response to the evolving needs of students and local education partners. Initially taking a journalistic approach, the curriculum aimed to equip youth with photography tools to document life from an insider’s perspective, deviating from the more prevalent practice of external observation. The early programs revealed the potency of photography and visual storytelling as conduits for self-expression. Both the students and local organization representatives would reflect in awe on iconic moments that arose throughout the program when participants would process and express an emotion for the first time. This key insight led to a substantial curriculum pivot, guiding students through a structured process for expressing emotions and presenting narratives through the medium of photography.

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“Ubongo’s Decade of Impact: Transforming Lives Through the Magic of Edutainment”
In the Ubongo universe, children take center stage in the innovation process, participating in research, content creation, community building, and growth initiatives. The non-profit organization delivers a multifaceted array of learning resources — visual, audio, digital, and peer-to-peer — all designed to teach critical skills and character development in a way that captivates young minds. Ubongo strategically partners with TV and radio broadcasters, utilizing a vast distribution network to reach children wherever they may be. The organization is acclaimed for its educational cartoons and radio shows, beloved by millions of African children. Akili and Me, Nuzo and Namia, and Ubongo Kids have become staples in the lives of these youngsters.


“Using Growth Mindset to Improve Classroom Management”
In the classroom, fostering a growth mindset can have profound implications. Teachers who promote this mindset in their classrooms create an environment where students feel safe to take risks and explore their potential. Students are more likely to engage actively in their learning, tackle challenging subjects with enthusiasm, and develop a deep-seated belief in their capacity to improve. The growth mindset is a game-changing perspective that has the potential to revolutionize how we approach learning and personal development. By believing in the power of effort, embracing challenges, and seeing failures as opportunities for growth, individuals can unlock their true potential and achieve remarkable success. This mindset not only propels individuals to achieve their goals but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and innovation in education and beyond.

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“Making a Maker{School}”
STEM subjects can be made more appealing to traditionally marginalized groups through the integration of STEM with art and design, known as STEAM. Engagement in makerspaces where users can tinker, design, and make a range of artifacts can develop knowledge across a wide range of disciplines, including STEM, and foster the kinds of skills that are important for pupils’ future success. This article reports on the work carried out by school leaders, teachers, and university researchers to develop and pilot a makerspace curriculum and the impact the project had on teacher practice and children’s development. Make a Maker{School} was a collaborative project carried out between 2021 and 2022 in Arbourthorne Community Primary school in Sheffield, England. The aim was to develop and pilot a maker-based curriculum as well as professional development resources for teachers. The project then was rolled out to an additional nine schools in the Sheffield City region.


“Changemakers for a Time of Change: The DCU Changemaker Schools Network”
The DCU Changemaker Schools Network is a collaborative professional learning network of schools chosen for their pioneering work in the development of empathy, creativity, leadership, and teamwork. Adopted by Dublin City University (DCU) in September 2020, the current network of 18 primary schools has moved into Phase 2 of its development, with two full-time academics, an ambitious research plan, and many ideas on the further development of students, and indeed school communities, as changemakers. The plan is to reach 50 primary schools by the year 2025. The network develops the capacity of primary school teachers, principals, and students to lead programs of change in their respective schools and wider communities to progress the education of their students and also address such societal challenges as inequality, climate change, and mental health. The DCU Changemaker Network has one simple yet powerful goal: to support the identity of students as changemakers.


“Breaking Down Barriers: Revolutionizing STEM Access for Rural Communities”
Learning Undefeated is a nonprofit organization on a mission to transform the way students in rural communities experience and engage with STEM education. Their mobile STEM laboratories, which are custom-built to provide state-of-the-art, provide hands-on learning experiences. These mobile labs come in various forms, ranging from trailers to buses to shipping containers, each equipped with professional-grade laboratory equipment, technology, and interactive resources that serve as dynamic educational spaces. As a core part of their mission, Learning Undefeated provides these services to schools completely free of charge. The mobile STEM labs are versatile and adaptable, serving as laboratories for scientific experiments, classrooms for interactive lessons, and immersive learning theaters. They are designed to facilitate hands-on exploration and collaborative problem-solving, giving students the opportunity to engage with STEM concepts in a way that goes beyond traditional textbooks and lectures.


“Screens, Swipes, and Society: The Future of Digital Citizenship in an Ever-Changing Tech Landscape”
The digital realm is not a mere adjunct to our world, but rather is an integral part of the ecosystem in which our children are growing up. Beyond the buzzes, beeps, and pixels lies an intricate landscape of norms, rights, and responsibilities, just as complex and crucial as those in the physical world. As our children set out on their digitally enhanced life voyage, guiding them through the essence of digital citizenship becomes paramount. This guidance goes beyond ensuring they know which button to press; they need grounding in the values and discernment required to use technology responsibly and ethically in an ever-evolving landscape.


“Using Digital Tools in the ECE Classroom to Engage, Enhance, and Extend Learning”
The call for fostering digital literacies and use of digital technologies in the early childhood classroom are fairly ubiquitous in current times. The authors of this article have worked with many educators at various stages of their careers to put technologies into the hands of children in ways that foster engagement and curiosity; enhance learning and provide a means to connect with families and the communities in ways otherwise not possible; and support and extend inquiry. Open-ended tools can be especially supportive for promoting child-initiated conversation, enhancing multilingual learners’ vocabulary development, and increasing accessibility for all learners. This article presents two innovative technologies that are not costly, do not require teachers to be tech experts, and do not demand an inordinate amount of time either outside of class for planning or during the instructional day.


“Visualizing Identity and Belonging: A Mapping Activity”
In the world of education, the term “mapping” takes on a rich and dynamic meaning, going beyond its traditional association with cartography. The art of mapping, especially through children’s drawings, provides a vibrant canvas where language finds its unique expression as children delve into their thoughts and convey ideas in a captivating and meaningful way. As children’s literacy practices unfold across the school environment — the playground, hallways, stairs, benches, classrooms, and even unexpected places like restrooms — each space evolves into a unique universe. Children feel empowered to independently articulate their thoughts, as these locations serve as distinctive lenses through which they “see, know, and understand the world.”


“‘We Are Told Not to Hold the Children’: Challenges Faced by Nepalese Student Teachers in Australia”
Due to their pivotal role in developing quality teachers, student teacher placements have been considered a cornerstone of initial teacher education. In recent years, scrutiny around practices related to such professional experience has increased. Based on her experience in supervising international students during placement in Australia, the author believes the time has come for radical changes to the current placement approach in the country. International education students’ core values could help early childhood services question why things are done in certain ways and consider ways to improve or enrich practices to ensure inclusion. When establishing equitable practices, the focus must be on reframing the power dynamics at play in placement, particularly the mentor teacher’s role.

 


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