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Frances Durkin

Teaching Specialist
B.A. Latin American Studies/Economics, Brown University<br />M.B.A. Boise State University <br />M.Ed., Early Childhood Education, University of Minnesota<br />Education Policy Fellowship Program, University of Minnesota

51 E River Rd
Rm 184


I am fascinated by children; how they grow, learn, develop, and form relationships.   My practice with children is rooted in social-constructivist theory, coming out of the progressive education tradition.  I relish exploring project based work with young children and have been greatly inspired by the example and methods of the Municipal preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.

My primary interest is in Creativity and the Arts – how children interact with artistic media and build the skills of different domains (music, visual arts, story telling, dramatic arts, movement) to create connections with their growing understanding of the world.  I’m also interested in the parallel dispositions that develop as a result of art work (persistence, problem solving, imagination, etc.) and how these support children’s learning and growth in other domains.

My secondary interests are 1) the process of second language acquisition in young children, 2) the public policy questions surrounding access to early childhood services for all children, particularly those for whom access to high quality programs has been impossible for reasons of cost and availability and 3) the development of pre-service teachers and their ability to lead children in arts and language related curriculum.

Courses Taught:

CPSY 5254 - Facilitating Creative and Motor Learning in Early Childhood Education (Co-instructor) (Winter Semester)

CPSY 5996 -  English Language Acquisition Methods in Brazil (Fall and Spring Semester).

Professional Background

Teaching -- Teacher, St. Paul Public Schools Learning Readiness Program, The Blake School, Park Spanish Immersion School (St. Louis Park District) Southside Family Nurturing Center, The Shirley G. Moore Laboratory Schools, Licensed Music Together Teacher (Certification 1 Level achieved) American School of Barcelona, Spain, Soong Ching Ling School, Shanghai, China.

Administration -- Director of Parent and Employer Services, Think Small, (formerly Resources for Child Caring, St Paul MN) Treasurer, Lake Harriet Montessori Parent Co-op Preschool, Board Member, Lake Harriet UMC Child Care Center.

Research – National Child Care Staffing Study (Research Assistant in Phoenix AZ, observation and interviews of staff in 20 Early Childcare settings,)  Participated in the IES Institute of Educational Sciences study on Executive Function with Children living in Homeless Shelters and Highly mobile settings. (PI: Ann Masten, Phil Zelazo, Stephanie Carlson) Adapted an International Music Education curriculum (Music Together) to foster Executive Function skills and delivered classes to families.

Consultant/Trainer -- MN Reggio Network, the Shirley G Moore Lab School Staff, the MacPhail Center for the Arts Early Childhood Music Team, Wayzata Public Schools, Joyce Bilingual Preschool, Mis Amigos Preschool, and State and National ECE conferences.  Trainings on Creativity, music and language acquisition for schools in Brazil.  Designed and set up a licensed Early Childhood Program in collaboration with staff at People Serving People (A Minneapolis Homeless Shelter.)