Thursday, January 20, 2011

The TBS Children's Center Blog

Blog Shalom is not the only new blog in the building.

Ellen Dietrick began as director of the TBS Children’s Center this summer, and one of the first gifts she gave to our preschool was to start up a Children’s Center blog. New laptops were purchased for the classrooms, teachers were trained on blogging, and all parents were sent an invitation to be a member of the blog community.

This new blog creatively addresses an ongoing goal for our preschool: to increase communication between school and home (noting that communication is a two-way street). Not only does the blog act as a reliable space for information that parents need to know, it also makes it easy for parents to post comments and questions.

The blog is mainly about the children, but the conversation goes way beyond the topic of adorableness. Pictures and videos of students enjoying all kinds of activities are posted several times per week. Teachers take turns writing their thoughts. There are recipes, quotes from the children’s classroom discussions, and ideas for how to enrich and support learning at home. A list of upcoming events and reminders is continually updated. There are also links to other websites and resources that may be of interest to parents, including programs offered at the Temple. Anything child-focused can be brought to parents’ attention, and it’s all just a click away. This is enormously helpful, but what I want to point out about this blog is not just its facility in broadening our range of information, but its potential for deepening our focus on our school community.

On the blog there is a “getting to know you” section about the teachers, each of whom wrote a short piece about themselves before school began this fall. These pieces contain their reasons for becoming a teacher, their pedagogical philosophies, their goals for the upcoming school year, and their hobbies and interests. The teachers’ words set the tone for the rest of the blog, and remind us that we are all tuned in to this community for the same reason: we care about the children who go to school here.

Every week teachers write about curriculum themes and day-to-day fun. They also write their own reflections on what is being taught and learned. These posts go light-years beyond simple descriptions of classroom activities. When teachers write about the deep thinking that goes into a lesson, everyone learns more. When parents post comments in response to these reflections, teachers gain well-deserved feedback about their work, and everyone learns even more.

The new TBSCC blog has set the stage for families to communicate publically, for the benefit of the entire school community. Public communication, when it is constructive and respectful, underscores the relevance of a community and deepens the commitment of its members. This is a gift we can all appreciate.


  1. My daughter Alison and I read the blog every day. She looks forward to seeing her photo and photos of her classmates. It is a wonderful way for the two of us to discuss what has been happening in her classroom. She proudly shows off the blog to our entire extended family.
    Thanks for posting this wonderful article, Margaret!

  2. As someone who has benefited from the TBSCC blog, I have to comment on Margaret's post. It has been truly transformative for us. I love looking on each day (or whenever I can get to it) to see what is happening at the Children's Center and in Mia's classroom. It gives me discussion starters so that Mia and I can discuss in more depth what Mia is doing in school. Often, Mia and I look together and read what is happening in her class and other classes. She enjoys going on the blog when I am putting Adam to bed and often clicks the "music" tag so she can watch some of the videos from the classrooms. Additionally, it has been phenomenal to watch the teachers put into practice what they are reading as a faculty, Learning Together with Young Children. As a member of the Children's Center Committee, I have had the opportunity to read the book as well and it is FANTASTIC to watch these best practices being implemented in our very own TBSCC classrooms. Finally, inspired by the TBSCC blog and all of our temple blogs, I recently created a blog for my colleagues and myself to discuss topics of interest, share ideas, and connect in a new way to each other.

  3. As a teacher learning to blog was so new yet fun. It offers a new and great way to communicate. Thank you Margaret for the overview of blogging. I notice as parents get more involved in reading and communicating with blog posts the children also get more involved. The other day I had a child tell me "we should blog this" So I took their advice and blogged it!