"Cute Is a Four-Letter Word": Sarah Curtis at TEDxSLC by TEDx Talks   6 years ago


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Sarah currently teaches at St. Ann's School in Brooklyn, NY. Years ago she attended the Sarah Lawrence Early Childhood Center. The experience of growing up lies at the heart of her interests and endeavors, which include poetry, performing arts, and anything that informs her development as a teacher.

Startling though it may be, Virginia Woolf has a lot to say about preschool. An argument for quality preschool is an argument for the profound value of great literature. It allows children to discover language and literature through play. Research insists that providing quality preschool is the key to pulling this country out of its educational tailspin, which has this year been affirmed as a policy priority by President Obama. Quality preschool isn't achievement based; it's play-based. My own early experience as a pre-school student at the Sarah Lawrence Early Childhood Center created within me a room of my own from which I have connected with the world. A truly wonderful education teaches lessons through experience. Such lessons are exceptionally difficult to quantify. Still, they take up permanent residence in human hearts and mind. As a teacher and privileged person, I believe we must continue and complicate the conversation about the power of a wonderful education.

The crisis facing the United States education system is so deep we must work hard to find creative answers. Woolf points to a world of possibility. While they are only beginning to develop as people, children in poverty experience injustice, violence, and a world of adult anxiety. What could be more important than to offer at-risk children a developmentally appropriate preschool experience that values imaginative play as an essential means of intellectual development? There is much more to being a preschool teacher than being nice and liking children. The project of learning can and should be profound, transformative and deeply felt. Play-based preschool locates hope in a genuine relationship between an adult and child—and amongst children themselves. Virginia Woolf and other great authors and artists can help adults create rooms where children may play in order to compose the story of their lives.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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