The Magic of Vivian Gussin Paley

  • What are the key ingredients to being a practitioner that places children at the heart of the curriculum?
  • Do you often question how to connect with your children at a deeper level?
  • Or maybe you would just like to know more about how Vivian Gussin Paley created the magic of her classroom.

Then this Conversation is for you.

At just over an hour this pre-recorded conversation about The Magic of Vivian Gussin Paley is between three women who were once assistant teachers to Vivian. Gillian McNamee – Professor of Teacher Education at the Erikson Institute and author (The High Performing Preschool), Jane Katch – author (Under Deadman’s Skin – Discovering the Meaning of Children’s Violent Play) and retired Kindergarten teacher, Sarah Sivright – recently retired co-founder and director of All Seasons Preschool. The Conversation was hosted by Trisha Lee (Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories) and Isla Hill (Education Director, MakeBelieve Arts).

This video is ideal for staff meetings or training days where it can be used as a starting point for conversations around creating a child centred, inclusive, play-based curriculum. It can also be used for your own professional development.

Access to the webinar is for 3 months from the date of purchase.

“I act as the Greek chorus, seeking connection and keeping track of events, but the decisions must come from the children themselves.”

Vivian Gussin Paley, 1929-2019

About Jane:

Jane was Vivian’s assistant from 1977 to 1978. She was with her in the classroom when White Teacher was accepted for publication and as Vivian started work on her next book, Wally’s Stories.

‘Vivian’s magic was in her curiosity, about what the children did, said, and thought. She was also curious about herself and her teaching— why she did what she did, how to do it better and how to explain it more clearly.’

About Sarah:

Sarah was Vivian’s assistant for three years, from 1988 to 1991, during this time Vivian was writing You Can’t Say You Can’t Play.

‘For me, the magic in Vivian’s classroom came from the combination of safety – emotional and physical – and freedom, for teachers and children alike. One had the sense that all would be well, no problem was too big to solve, and, at the same time, we were free to explore, create, change direction, take risks. I never grew so much as in those years with her.’

About Gillian:

Gillian was Vivian’s assistant from 1975 to 1976, also while she was working on Wally’s Stories.

“Vivian’s classroom was a landscape of creativity unfolding among the children as I had never seen before… The children were busy becoming good guys and bad guys, princesses and fireman, crying babies needing to go to the doctor, or a puppy getting saved by an eagle. The classroom was humming with children’s imagination at work.”

“Oh My Goodness! The Conversation with Gillian, Jane and Sarah was AMAZING! My only criticism is that it was too short!!! These women shared, not only their very personal memories of Vivian Gussin Paley, but also gave us insight into how to be a great supporter of children. Vivian’s insistence on being able to say something about EVERY child, EVERY day really struck a chord with me and her conviction that children learn through play and being part of a real and supportive community… WOW! THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL SESSION!”

Local Authority Early Years Advisor

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Course Includes

  • 1 Lesson

Ratings and Reviews

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Amy Lemieux
Posted 2 months ago

This conversation is magical - helping children discover the essence of being human. This should happen in every classroom. "The children are the curriculum." What parent would not want this philosophy for their child's school experience? Applicable to all ages! Storytelling and storyacting, naturally illustrating any plotholes so the author can fill them in.

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