Mary E. LaLuna, PBL3, Play, Project, Problem-Based Learning
Teaching The Whole Child Through ITE
We live in a world where children are rushed off to daycare, then to preschool, then it is a long succession of daily visits to K-12. Often times we forget what it is to be a child, let alone a child where parents are either too busy at being adults, or disenfranchised to the point that they forget they are their child's first teacher. PBL3 emphasizes a role that every educator has, and that is to teach a child how to succeed through playing at success. My parents were my first teachers. It is through my mother that I learned how to sing as I "played at finding pitch" on the piano. I would stand in front of the mirror and want to be one of the Beatles until my brother reminded me, (poorly I might add) that I was a girl and the Beatles were boys. I did not let that stop me. I learned how to sew, to problem solve as I was always told you do not waste fabric, it is too expensive. "lay it out first Mary, follow the directions." I learned from both my mom and my dad how to cook. It is through them that I learned how to measure, and yes, to explore flavors. My father was always improving on recipes. One thing consistent about my dad, he consistently improved on perfection! I learned how to appreciate nature and the world around me through my Dad's keen awareness of nature and the beauty of each little thing. I learned how to see things both logically and abstractly as he was an artist and explored many mediums. Through my parents I learned how to be my children's first teacher, passing on all of the amazing things I learned from them, plus even more. You see my mother was forced to drop out of school at the age of 16 when her mother died prematurely. The only girl in a family of males required her to pick up where Grandma left off. My father dropped out at the end of eighth grade. A product of the Great Depression, and an ailing father, he had no choice. He overcame that by always hungering to do more, learn more and explore more. My parents made sure that my 7 brothers and sisters and I would love learning and never stop. I was raised in what would be considered poverty by today's standards. I never felt impoverished. My father was a barber, my mother was a "domestic engineer." I was fortunate.
Many children do not have what I had. Many children do not have what my children had. The one thing that was the most important in my childhood and in my children's childhoods was play, projects and problems. What is lacking in most of children's formation now, play, projects, problems. As educators our role has changed. Just like many of our parent's roles have changed. In order for us to enable a child to become a manifestation of ability, as opposed to circumstance, we must bridge that gap. We need to bring "playing school" back to school. whether our student is p-k, or a graduating senior. School is the perfect time for them to experience education in an environment that allows them to discover who they are in the context of the world in which they live and through the possibilities that an education provides.