A Gift of Wonder is set in an independent school but written with public school teachers and parents in mind. This review by Desirae Blake is the first of a series of reviews by public school teachers.
Kim Allsup’s book, “A Gift of Wonder,” is a gently told story with a powerful message. As a public school teacher, I picked up this book hoping to learn specific strategies and activities to add to my lesson plans. Instead, in true Waldorf style, Allsup artfully weaves together stories from her own classroom experience to plant the seed that school needn’t be the rushed, high-stakes testing environment that it is today. It is a call to get back to the heart of teaching, to remember that developmentally appropriate lessons apply far beyond the early childhood years. When teachers have the freedom to plan lessons that meet children in their natural stage of development the foundation for life-long learning is built.
In this time of increasing globalization and the competition that ensues, our children need positive relational, creative, and critical thinking skills more than ever. Allsup’s memoir of “school as it should be” has inspired me to become a story-teller in my own classroom, to look for ways to slow down childhood without sacrificing rigor, and awaken the natural wonder in my students as we learn together. With these types of conversations on the rise among parents, teachers, and policy-makers alike, I have hope that our nation’s educational pendulum has begun its swing in this direction.
by Desirae Blake,
To order A Gift of Wonder https://amzn.to/30E6clb
Desirae Blake is a primary grades teacher for Evergreen Public Schools in Washington State. She holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in elementary mathematics, from Portland State University (2016) and a bachelor’s degree from Corban University (1999).