Mary Hebron

BA, MA, New York University. Former teacher and coordinator of primary education, Mamaroneck, New York, public schools; curriculum and assessment consultant in New York City and Westchester; coordinator of teacher and study groups, including The Art of Teaching Professional Development Series. Board member of The Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research, North Bennington, Vermont. SLC, 1985—

Current graduate courses

Advisement and Practicum Seminars

Year

The theme of the Advisement Seminar is to explore the connections between early childhood education, childhood education, and the ongoing education of teachers in the content disciplines. The seminar begins with observations of the very youngest children to help us begin to frame continuities and differences. Faculty from the Early Childhood Center and the undergraduate liberal arts faculty help us to think about learning as an ongoing process across ages and stages of development, leading sessions devoted to curriculum and its evolution both for children in classrooms and for us as teachers. We consider intercultural perspectives and themes related to teaching in a diverse society; view videos and films of children in classrooms engaged in drawing, writing, reading, imaginative play, and social-studies explorations; read source material in the content disciplines; and engage in hands-on explorations.

Faculty

Advisement and Practicum Seminars

Year

The Practicum Seminar is a yearlong course that supports early childhood and childhood student-teaching experiences and provides opportunities to draw together the ideas, processes, and approaches in early childhood and childhood teaching practice, curriculum development, and instructional planning across content disciplines in prekindergarten through grade two settings and in grades one-through-six classrooms. Issues and questions that arise in student teaching and continue to be present in classrooms and schools will be explored. These include the role of observation and documentation as they inform assessments of children’s learning and of teaching itself; the creation of learning environments for children from birth through grade two and in grades one through six, inclusive of all children across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and learning differences; the development of approaches that enable continuity for children between home and school and in their school lives; the development of classrooms as communities of learners; and the exploration of the teacher’s role and approaches to classroom organization and structure that relate to very young and elementary-age children. Other topics of importance in the course are the creation of opportunities and processes for collaboration among teachers, parents, and administrators and the development of strategies to reflect on, renew, and revise teaching with an emphasis on the importance of professional development. The “Practicum Seminar” also supports students in their continued efforts to understand the political nature of teaching, placing emphasis on educating for a democratic society. The roles of the family, school, and community in educating children are explored, as well as  current philosophies and climate regarding home, school, and community relationships. Practicum Seminar students will keep a reflective journal of their field placement and student-teaching experiences, including observation and documentation of children, classrooms, activities, curriculum planning and facilitation, materials, and media. Students will also begin to develop, refine, and share their thinking regarding their master’s project topics.

Faculty

Language and Literacy I and II

This two-semester course focuses on the making of meaning and knowledge through listening, speaking, reading, and writing in early childhood and childhood. All children—English speakers and English language learners—are recognized as capable of learning and of becoming competent English language and literacy users. Emphasis is on teaching that takes into account each child’s approaches to learning and pace in learning, valuing the complexity in developing instruction that builds upon what the child already knows and can do.

  • Learning is a process by which each person actively constructs meaning from experience, including encounters with print and nonprint texts.
  • Language and literacy are social acts.
  • Language and literacy develop in the pursuit of real-life enterprise.
  • Reading and writing, as with spoken language, are best learned in rich, interactive environments where they serve real purposes.
  • Reading and writing do not develop in predefined stages; rather, literacy understanding is complex and unique to the individual.
  • Language and literacy cannot be separated from the total expressiveness of the person.
  • Literacy is power, and children must have every opportunity to know its power.
  • Literacy teaching and learning must be re-envisioned to accommodate a multimodal, multilingual, multimedia world.

We will build our knowledge of language and literacy learning upon these assumptions by reflecting on ourselves as readers, writers, and language users. We will explore how children learn to read and write by observing them as they use language and literacy for real purposes. We will consider new media and technologies as modes of communication and expression and consider how they are reshaping the future of literacy. Our observations of children and our own literacy stories will help us understand the range and complexity of meanings and approaches among any group of learners. Our observations and recollections also will provide an entry point for discussions regarding differences in race, class, ethnicity, gender, and learning style. The challenge for schools to be inclusive of the diversity—to enable each child to differ, yet belong to the community of learners—lies at the core of our work. We will, through our Child Studies, our recollections, and the readings, begin to develop a picture of inclusive classrooms and schools in which children have the “space to dance with others” and the “room to differ” (Patricia F. Carini). The course paper will be an in-depth inquiry focused on language and literacy teaching and learning and on classroom practice and work with children, examined through the lens of your own philosophy, thought, values, and standards.

Faculty

Observation and Documentation

Fall

In the Art of Teaching program, we place the observation and documentation of children and their learning at the center of teaching. The emphasis is on seeing every child as capable, unique, and knowable and on children as active makers of their own meaning and knowledge. Observing is focused on what the child can do and is interested in and on how each child thinks and learns. We assume that teachers make knowledge of teaching and learning through longitudinal observation and documentation of each child as thinker and learner. This knowledge is the foundation for curriculum development and instructional planning that accommodate individual interests and approaches to learning. The ideas and processes developed at Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research, by Patricia Carini and others, will be the foundation of the work throughout the course. The Prospect Descriptive Processes and, in particular, the Descriptive Review of the Child will give students a formal and systematic framework for drawing together their observations of children over time. In addition, the review processes developed at Prospect Center will be discussed as avenues for collaborative inquiry and meaning-making among educators and parents. Students will participate in a Descriptive Review and will review longitudinal collections of children’s work. They will also learn about descriptive inquiry processes for reviewing curricula and teaching practice. Students will share observations of children in early childhood and childhood education settings and develop a language of description. We will discuss the importance of creating classrooms where each child is visible through strength. Students will develop a child study that includes: a description of the child using the headings of the Descriptive Review, a collection of the child’s work, and reflections on the implications that the longitudinal documentation of the child holds for teaching.

Faculty

Previous courses

Advisement and Practicum

The theme of the Advisement Seminar is to explore the connections between early childhood education, childhood education, and the ongoing education of teachers in the content disciplines. The seminar begins with observations of the very youngest children to help us begin to frame continuities and differences. Faculty from the Early Childhood Center and the undergraduate liberal arts faculty help us to think about learning as an ongoing process across ages and stages of development, leading sessions devoted to curriculum and its evolution both for children in classrooms and for us as teachers. We consider intercultural perspectives and themes related to teaching in a diverse society; view videos and films of children in classrooms engaged in drawing, writing, reading, imaginative play, and social-studies explorations; read source material in the content disciplines; and engage in hands-on explorations. The Practicum Seminar is a yearlong course that supports early childhood and childhood student-teaching experiences and provides opportunities to draw together the ideas, processes, and approaches in early childhood and childhood teaching practice, curriculum development, and instructional planning across content disciplines in prekindergarten through grade two settings and in grades one-through-six classrooms. Issues and questions that arise in student teaching and continue to be present in classrooms and schools will be explored. These include the role of observation and documentation as they inform assessments of children’s learning and of teaching itself; the creation of learning environments for children from birth through grade two and in grades one through six, inclusive of all children across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and learning differences; the development of approaches that enable continuity for children between home and school and in their school lives; the development of classrooms as communities of learners; and the exploration of the teacher’s role and approaches to classroom organization and structure that relate to very young and elementary-age children. Other topics of importance in the course are the creation of opportunities and processes for collaboration among teachers, parents, and administrators and the development of strategies to reflect on, renew, and revise teaching with an emphasis on the importance of professional development. The “Practicum Seminar” also supports students in their continued efforts to understand the political nature of teaching, placing emphasis on educating for a democratic society. The roles of the family, school, and community in educating children are explored,  as well as  current philosophies and climate regarding home, school, and community relationships. Practicum Seminar students will keep a reflective journal of their field placement and student-teaching experiences, including observation and documentation of children, classrooms, activities, curriculum planning and facilitation, materials, and media. Students will also begin to develop, refine, and share their thinking regarding their master’s project topics.

Faculty

Emergent Curriculum: The Child as Meaning Maker

This two-semester course, in which children’s interests and approaches to learning across early childhood and childhood, are emphasized in developing curricula with multiple entry points. We will reflect on ways of knowing in our own learning and that of the children, exploring teaching strategies that value, as well as expand, children’s knowledge and modes of thinking and learning. We will discuss how children’s interests and questions connect to the large ideas and questions at the core of the subject-matter disciplines. Central to the course is understanding how to create a curriculum that is driven by ideas—striving for wholeness, integration, coherence, meaning—and focused on assisting children in applying knowledge and thinking to real-life problems.

Faculty

Language and Literacy

This two-semester course focuses on the making of meaning and knowledge through listening, speaking, reading, and writing in early childhood and childhood. All children—English speakers and English language learners—are recognized as capable of learning and of becoming competent English language and literacy users. Emphasis is on teaching that takes into account each child’s approaches to learning and pace in learning, valuing the complexity in developing instruction that builds upon what the child already knows and can do.

  • Learning is a process by which each person actively constructs meaning from experience, including encounters with print and nonprint texts.
  • Language and literacy are social acts.
  • Language and literacy develop in the pursuit of real-life enterprise.
  • Reading and writing, as with spoken language, are best learned in rich, interactive environments where they serve real purposes.
  • Reading and writing do not develop in predefined stages; rather, literacy understanding is complex and unique to the individual.
  • Language and literacy cannot be separated from the total expressiveness of the person.
  • Literacy is power, and children must have every opportunity to know its power.
  • Literacy teaching and learning must be re-envisioned to accommodate a multimodal, multilingual, multimedia world.

We will build our knowledge of language and literacy learning upon these assumptions by reflecting on ourselves as readers, writers, and language users. We will explore how children learn to read and write by observing them as they use language and literacy for real purposes. We will consider new media and technologies as modes of communication and expression and consider how they are reshaping the future of literacy. Our observations of children and our own literacy stories will help us understand the range and complexity of meanings and approaches among any group of learners. Our observations and recollections also will provide an entry point for discussions regarding differences in race, class, ethnicity, gender, and learning style. The challenge for schools to be inclusive of the diversity—to enable each child to differ, yet belong to the community of learners—lies at the core of our work. We will, through our Child Studies, our recollections, and the readings, begin to develop a picture of inclusive classrooms and schools in which children have the “space to dance with others” and the “room to differ” (Patricia F. Carini). The course paper will be an in-depth inquiry focused on language and literacy teaching and learning and on classroom practice and work with children, examined through the lens of your own philosophy, thought, values, and standards.

Faculty

Observation and Documentation - Graduate

In the Art of Teaching program, we place the observation and documentation of children and their learning at the center of teaching. The emphasis is on seeing every child as capable, unique, and knowable and on children as active makers of their own meaning and knowledge. Observing is focused on what the child can do and is interested in and on how each child thinks and learns. We assume that teachers make knowledge of teaching and learning through longitudinal observation and documentation of each child as thinker and learner. This knowledge is the foundation for curriculum development and instructional planning that accommodate individual interests and approaches to learning. The ideas and processes developed at Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research, by Patricia Carini and others, will be the foundation of the work throughout the course. The Prospect Descriptive Processes and, in particular, the Descriptive Review of the Child will give students a formal and systematic framework for drawing together their observations of children over time. In addition, the review processes developed at Prospect Center will be discussed as avenues for collaborative inquiry and meaning-making among educators and parents. Students will participate in a Descriptive Review and will review longitudinal collections of children’s work. They will also learn about descriptive inquiry processes for reviewing curricula and teaching practice. Students will share observations of children in early childhood and childhood education settings and develop a language of description. We will discuss the importance of creating classrooms where each child is visible through strength. Students will develop a child study that includes: a description of the child using the headings of the Descriptive Review, a collection of the child’s work, and reflections on the implications that the longitudinal documentation of the child holds for teaching.

Faculty

Teaching and Learning for the Classroom Professional

This Saturday seminar course is for educators who are interested, at any stage in their careers, in ongoing inquiry.  We look closely at the work of children and teachers; read articles, journals and excerpts from books for response and discussion; and come together around particular questions of teaching practice, including issues regarding curriculum across the content arena.  We use the processes developed at The Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research as a lens through which to view the work of teaching.  The focus of inquiry reflects the interests and experiences of participants in the course, as the purpose is to meet individual teaching and learning needs.

Faculty

Teaching and Learning for the Classroom Professional - Graduate

This Saturday seminar course is for educators who are interested, at any stage in their careers, in ongoing inquiry.  We look closely at the work of children and teachers; read articles, journals and excerpts from books for response and discussion; and come together around particular questions of teaching practice, including issues regarding curriculum across the content arena.  We use the processes developed at The Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research as a lens through which to view the work of teaching.  The focus of inquiry reflects the interests and experiences of participants in the course, as the purpose is to meet individual teaching and learning needs.

Faculty