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Thompson

Ross Thompson

Teaching Specialist
M.Ed., Early Childhood Education, University of Minnesota

Institute of Child Development
Shirley G. Moore Lab School
124 ChDev
51 E River Pkwy
Tel:612-624-9543
thom1411@umn.edu

I started my career at the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School in 2005, first completing my student teaching experience in the winter of that year and then being hired to work in various roles around the school for the following two years.  I then joined the staff as a full-time lead teacher for the multi-age morning preschool class in the fall of 2007.  There, my job was (and continues to be) to create a interesting and exciting environment that not only challenges their cognitive minds, but also (and as equally, if not more importantly) fosters the development of their emotional, social, creative, and physical development, as well.  While in the classroom, I also assume the role of cooperating teacher -- leading/facilitating the student teaching experiences for 6-9 undergraduate and/or graduate students completing their Early Childhood degrees each year.  I truly enjoy working with both ends of the "formalized education" spectrum, while always trying to engender a passion for life-long learning in all the students I work with (young and old!). 

I believe that all learning opportunities need to be fun, hands-on, relevant, and meaningful -- for everyone.  I want to help the pre-service teachers find their passion for working with children and young people in ways that truly embodies the best developmentally appropriate practices.  Through active, child-directed investigations, the learning can truly come alive, and it's always exciting to be a part of the exploration and inquiry.  What I also want everyone (the children, students, families) to understand is that learning in Early Childhood goes well beyond learning the A, B, C's and 1, 2, 3's -- I believe in whole-child learning that fosters, supports, and promotes all development domains (emotional, social, cognitive, creative, and physical).

In addition to classroom teaching, I am also an instructor for two courses in the Early Childhood program (not including the leading the student teaching experiences every year).  In those course, I try to "practice what I preach" by making the learning in lecture classes come alive through active, hands-on, participatory classes.  How can we expected the future teachers of young children to be engaging and excited if we don't model that and help them development those skills as well?

Outside of the Lab School and Early Childhood program, I am an active member in the Reggio Inspired Network of Minnesota teaching collective --"[A] broad gathering of educators and citizens from Minnesota and nearby regions, who work in a variety of schools and civic organizations around issues of education and democracy. Inspired by the innovative preschools and infant-toddler centers in Reggio Emilia, Italy, Network participants look closely at the “Reggio approach” as well as examine and discuss our local experiences." (from the RINM website).  I also regularly collaborate with a group of teachers that get together to discuss and promote the importance and inclusion of big-body/rough-and-tumble play in early childhood--helping others understand that this type of play will create well-rounded, whole child learning opportunities.

Courses Taught:

CPSY 5281 -- Clinical Experience in Early Childhood

CPSY 5253 -- Facilitating Cognitive and Language Learning in Early Childhood

CPSY 5254 -- Facilitating Creativity and Motor Learning in Early Childhood (co-instructed with Frances Durkin)