The Possibilities of Learning: A Social Constructivist Approach in the Early Years

The Possibilities of Learning: A Social Constructivist Approach in the Early Years

Attending the Master of Education Program at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I was fortunate to be surrounded by a sea of thought-provoking academics and educators. I distinctly recall existing in a constant state of wonder and reflection. Every philosophy, paradigm, and theory that I heard, read, or thought about became a pivot-point for questions and deep contemplation. Cognitively enlightening, the pedagogical dialogue drove me deeper into wonder. I remember feeling a constant urge to rethink every thought I had, and to retract every idea the minute it came out of my mouth. Listening to others’ reflections was cause for consideration and I realized what I thought I understood a moment prior had already changed. In this way, all conversation became a springboard for bigger ideas, innovative thought, and tremendous reflection. I was in a constant state of flux and discovery. And, I loved every minute of it. As I contemplated many ideas shared by others, it became clear that I was living the life of a social constructivist where social relationships and co-learning became the foundation for thinking, and new ideas.


After 20+ years in education, countless courses, professional development, and pedagogical conversations, I continue to thrive as a social constructivist seeking insights from learners of all ages. From children, to colleagues, mentors, and parents, I find inspiration to better understand ways of knowing. I seek professional relationships that allow me to discover inspiration, creativity, innovation, and new learning. Sharing, observing, listening, and reflecting about documentation while critically questioning current theories and paradigms, I continue to explores an evolving pathway of learning. With an ever-expanding repertoire of learning partners, I am fortunate to be challenged to reconsider understandings, inquire further into places of new wonder, and to explore the thoughts and ideas of those around me.  


As I reflect and reconsider ideas and understandings within the context of my learning environment, it excites me to consider the possibilities of learning that I share with children and educators. Driving our exploration is the pedagogical documentation that beckons us to collaboratively explore, consider, question, challenge, and interpret the thinking within our co-learning environment. We embrace what some might call mistakes, and instead consider these as doors to new understandings. We have come to realize a critical understanding about learning~ the magic is in the mess. Learning happens best when we jump in with two feet. Learning happens best when we dig deeply, seeking hidden treasures of insight and understanding, that lie just below the surface of the muck. Collaboratively, we face new challenges, embrace creativity, and explore unknown territory as mutually invested learning partners.


It is here that each of us comes alive and engages in a learning environment that feels safe and yet pushes each of us, individually and collectively, beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones. It is here that the children become the drivers in our shared learning journey with the educators perceptively guiding and bringing to the surface the depth of thought, wonder, and understanding that we know exists among our youngest of learners. Along this journey, it is a study of the relationships among ourselves, one another, our environment, and the materials that surround us, inviting and provoking us to find new places of being, wonder, and imagination. It is here that we empower ourselves, as social constructivists, to become our true selves: inspired, collaborative, invested, innovative, and full of wonder and excitement for what magic might come next.


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