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August 21, 2008

This I Believe MEME...

My friend and mentor Bill Ferriter tagged me a while ago before I came to Inside Pre-K to participate in a blog MEME. He asked me to write a post based on the National Public Radio seriesThis I Believe
where individuals share essays they have written that enumerate their philosophies.

I thought this would be a great chance for folks to get to know me a little better. So, here is my contribution.

This I Believe...

Education is the thread that creates the tapestry of America. Teachers spin the strong yarn of many colors, shades, and tones of America’s people by pulling, stretching, and expanding students’ minds. The lives of America’s people, woven together, are varied and bright, and when seen from afar, create a tapestry that shows the most important philosophy of the American experiment: possibility. The tapestries of countries without a strong educational system are pictures of what has always been. Poor farmers’ children grow up to be poor farmers, factory workers’ children grow up to be factory workers. Because of teachers, these children can grow up to be inventors, scientists, or teachers. But most importantly, no matter where the children come from, they are able to pursue happiness through gainful work that contributes to society.

      I have seen the truth of this philosophy in the community where I teach. My former pre-k student Zasheen’s mother came from a family that did not value education. She works in a low wage job that she does not value, because when she was a teenager, she saw a lack of possibility in the pursuit of education. But, Zasheen’s mother chose to emphasize the importance of education as a means to a brighter future by enrolling Zasheen and his brother in pre-k. Now Zasheen’s thread is strong--each new teacher contributing to its strength--but it can be broken by any teacher along the way, especially in the early years. The importance of a high quality education to the thread of Zasheen’s life, as it is passed from teacher to teacher, is part of his mother’s dream.

      Because of the American right to education for all, teachers can expand our horizons to the wider world. Pre-k is a part of that right, the right to choose what is best for our children. We are not bound by our personal histories or those of our families and our communities. Because of education, we are able to see past what we have always known. The tapestry of education shows us what can be. In every child, America’s teachers spin as strong a yarn as they know how. Each teacher in a child’s educational career adds their personal strength to the yarn that will become a child’s future. It is up to the child to determine where he or she will fit in the tapestry of America, but it is teachers who make it possible to have a choice.

This I Believe

Uh, What's A Meme?

Here is a brief description of what a MEME is.


Some of you out there don't know a meme from a hole in the ground but that's ok. I'll bring you up to speed.

The short definition is "a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another."

However, that definition is incomplete as it relates to an Internet meme which "occurs when something relatively unknown becomes increasingly popular, often quite suddenly, through the mass propagation of media content made feasible by the Internet" technology.

Here is the challenge: A Pre-K Now Mini-MEME. Please leave a one sentence comment about what you believe. It could be about Pre-K, teaching, learning, family, children, or life. It can be a long sentence or a short sentence. You could even make it really hard and write just six words like the members of the Teacher Leaders Network  did for Teacher Magazine recently.


I believe pre-k can and must be both student outcomes oriented and developmentally appropriate in order to give children the enriching, purposeful, and supportive introduction to school they deserve.

I believe that all children can learn given a supportive environment where they are met at their level and mistakes are not considered mistakes but learning opportunities not to be missed!

I believe that every child has a gift that is waiting to be open. I believe it's not the job of the teacher to give information, but rather to expose children to possibilities of learning and let the children run with it. I believe practice does not make perfect, it makes better. I believe that children can and will learn, just not in the same way, on the same day using the same lesson.

this is fun......allow me to share my thoughts on pre-k by way of an acrostic poem:

Reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic


I believe learning something new is the most important thing a person does every day. It keeps us young and our minds active.

Hey, John... this quote by Mike Rose is my favorite email signature "postscript" because it perfectly expresses my feelings about public education. If you're not familiar with Rose's book, it's wonderful.


"Public education is bountiful, crowded, messy, contradictory, exuberant, tragic, frustrating, and remarkable." -- Mike Rose in "Possible Lives"

I believe... that education is the great equalizer.

I believe all people have tremendous capacity for caring and making good on the concerns of their hearts. The purpose of education is to facilitate enough learning that all of our world's concerns are being attended to by someone. Educators can bring change when we work to open eyes, challenge assumptions, prick hearts and guide change.

I believe that how kids play, and learn to play, as young children hugely impacts their way of being in the world later as adolescents and adults. Cheers to pre-K teachers!

I believe that pre-kindergarten children have an amazing capacity for learning and that those of us who work in early childhood have the greatest jobs on earth!
Gail Ritchie

Believe in what you do; do what you believe (From Selma Wassermann's Serious Players in the Primary Classroom)

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