Friday, July 24, 2020

Teacher Tom: Who's With Us?

Teacher Tom: Who's With Us?

Who's With Us?

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind. Today is the final day of the free part of The Play First Summit, a project that my friend Sally Haughey from Fairy Dust Teaching proposed to my wife Jennifer and me a mere three months ago. Three months. That's hardly enough time to plan a decent dinner party, let alone an international gathering of early childhood educators and parents. This is the sort of thing that typically takes a year or more to pull together, but we were feeling a rising sense of dismay about the state of the world and what it means, and could mean, for young children. As Lisa Murphy said in the kick off session of the summit, we are the guardians of childhood, all of us. If we don't speak for them, who will? It was a sentiment echoed throughout, from conversation to conversation, and not just from the presenters.

It's heartwarmingly, mind blowingly clear that we aren't alone. Nearly 75,000 people joined us at this urgently called summit this week, representing 97 nations. Ninety-seven nations. Depending on how you count, that's about half the countries on earth. That is truly a global gathering beyond our wildest expectations. About a third of those participants have been participating in our Facebook community group. Going in, I figured I would need to serve as a good host, initiating dialog and spurring conversation, but for weeks now, the page has been abuzz in a way that I've not seen even at live conferences. Instead of "managing" the group, I've spent this past week scrambling just to keep up with it all. I can't wait for things to die down a bit so that I can methodically go through every one of those discussion threads because there is, using Sally's word, a lot of "gold" there.

From the beginning, our hope has been that this isn't a one-off, that this summit could be a spark to ignite a worldwide movement on behalf of our youngest citizens. Whether that happens or not will be up to all of us. I've not yet had the CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: Who's With Us?