| December 3, 2013

Wonderplay Conference

Alexandra Duffee

At this years Wonderplay conference, I really enjoyed the kindergarten

restaurant workshop, presented by Robyn Ulzheimer. She described the process of

getting the children interested and excited about learning about restaurants and the

people that work in them. She then showed us how the class was able to run a

restaurant. It was really amazing to see how little Robyn had to intervene and guide

the children while they were running their restaurant. This showed me what a

difference children really being interested in what they are doing makes in a

classroom, and how project based learning make a more engaging curriculum. The

children really understood what needed to happen in order for their classroom

restaurant to work, because they had been studying restaurants before opening

their class restaurant. Robyn also talked about using parents as resources during

their restaurant study. By communicating with parents, her class was able to go out

to eat at a restaurant owned by a parent and visit the restaurant kitchen. She also

talked about bringing parents in who had worked at restaurants to learn from them.

I have seen classes that use the project based curriculum, but none of those

classrooms explored the community and used family and community resources in

the way that Robyn does. She showed me that being resourceful, creative, and

developing the curriculum following the children’s interests really makes a

difference in the children’s experience.