We specialize in creating experiences that deepen the understanding of young children's thought and action.
EARLY CHILDHOOD PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Creativity in Learning, an early learning consulting firm founded by Laura Friedman, M.Ed. in 2007 as a way to share lifelong experience with and study of children and to learn from others with similar experiences.
We believe that young children are competent, capable, innately curious, joyful and indeed remarkable. In addition to learning directly from children, we have been deeply influenced by Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and the resulting practice; by the ongoing educational experiences in Reggio Emilia and Pistoia, Italy; and by the work of David and Frances Hawkins, which involves the contemporary experiences of the Hawkins Centers of Learning.
Creativity in Learning offers workshops, events and consulting services for the early childhood educator around topics such as The Thinking Child, Integrated Environments and Materials, Early Literacy, and Documenting Learning.
Creativity in Learning has assembled a list of resources including books and articles as well as useful links.
Creating experiences that deepen the understanding of young children's thought and action.
Ideally workshops are individualized, keeping in mind that each early learning program has different needs and interests at any given time. If you would like to focus on specific topics, Laura will work with you to design supportive experiences. Through observation of and discussion about your program, which may be documented using photos and video, Laura can also suggest ways to work toward enriching the experiences of both children and adults in your center-based or home-based program.
How can we build on a child’s or group’s innate curiosities, questions and investigations? How can we find out what is already known?Workshop Ideas
Based on the activities of children, how can we best choose materials and organize space so that we create opportunities for ongoing learning?Workshop Ideas
How do we “see” our children? How do we interpret their actions?Workshop Ideas
Can we find subject matter in the children’s actions without dis-integrating the child or group?Workshop Ideas
What is literacy? What is the power of a simple mark? A drawing? A discussion? A story?Photography, Web Design
How can we support children’s experimentation in a culture that is preoccupied with safety?Workshop Ideas
Can we find connections between children's intrinsic "need to know" and the process of scientific inquiry?Workshop Ideas
Our events vary from large gatherings that focus on a particular topic in early childhood to small group collectives that meet over time to delve more deeply into a variety of subjects. In most cases, we spend time thinking together and working with materials to support our thinking, and then, as a group, discussing our ideas and experiences. Contact Creativity in Learning for event details.
A four-part workshop series for teachers and families of young children offered by Creativity in Learning, the Fiddlehead Art & Science Center and Hawkins Centers of Learning: (1) The Competent Learner: What are the Qualities of the Young Scientist? (2) Discover the Thinking: What Does the Child Know? (3) The Environment: What Tools are Available to the Young Scientist? (4) “Messing About” in Science: Learning through Supported Exploration.
Dr. Lella Gandini, United States Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia approach offered an exciting professional development opportunity for early childhood and early elementary education educators. The workshop brought together early childhood and elementary school educators with Dr. Gandini to explore ways to make children’s learning visible to families, children and teachers. Participants enhanced their knowledge and practice of observation and documentation as a tool to assess both individual and group learning. Attendees also explored strategies for “mapping” predetermined standards (e.g., state or national) onto the documentation to ensure that the standards meet the actual/intrinsic learning needs of the child.
A two-day, dynamic workshop with Barry Kluger-Bell: Barry is a physicist, Inquiry Science Educator and Facilitator of experiences driven by and connected to curiosity. The workshop offered participants the opportunity to investigate and discuss ways in which we, as educators, can come to recognize play as inquiry and then work within a variety of frameworks to support this action. Barry led us through experiences focused on playing first with foam and then with light & shadow.
As a teenager, Laura was been fascinated with and drawn to the magic of early years while babysitting for twin, preverbal toddlers.
Since that time, Laura has worked professionally as a home-care provider, a public elementary school librarian, Title I and special education aide, a preschool teacher, and most recently in teacher education. Informally, Laura has volunteered as a reader with the Success by Six United Way program in Maine, and with Literacy Volunteers. She views her relationship and interactions with her own three children as offering some of the most wonder- and power-filled practical learning of her career. Today, it is Laura’s goal to share this diverse history with and to learn from other teachers who work with young children.
In addition to a B.A. in Liberal Studies at Lesley University which focused on symbolic drawing in early literacy, Laura earned NCME Montessori Certification for ages three through six, and an M.Ed. from Lesley. Lesley’s independent masters program included travel to and in-depth study of the municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy; a Harvard/Project Zero study week focused on Teaching for Understanding; and on-line video documentation courses through Videatives, Inc.
Laura is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, and has maintained a long-time connection with Hawkins Centers of Learning since its inception in 2004. She has written articles for The National Montessori Reporter, ChildCare Exchange, and for Sage Publications, offering a chapter in Classroom Management: An A-Z Guide.
Laura is also an accomplished jeweler and metalworker. She keeps a small inventory that can be found in the Store section at lsf | design + fabrication. Much of Laura’s work is collaborative using client’s input. She also creates her own pieces that tend to be rustic and textured—more organic.
Molly and Laura work collaboratively often to design and present workshops for educators.
Molly has been employed in the early learning field for over 35 years, since graduating from Wheelock College with a degree in early childhood education. In addition to holding positions as teacher and director in a number of school settings, Molly has served as director of Parent Education Programs for an independent school serving early childhood through middle school. She has created, edited and published monthly parenting periodicals, circulated in communities throughout the New England region.
As a result of her expertise in early childhood, Molly has been active in volunteering service to a variety of organizations in the Greater Portland area, including the Children’s Museum of Maine, Portland Public Schools. Portland Trails School Ground Greening, Nason’s Corner Community Park Project, and several preschools and childcare centers.
Molly is a highly creative thinker and doer. Laura has learned and grown tremendously through her professional partnerships with Molly.
Paul provides Creativity in Learning web support through his company, Red Design. Our purpose is to apply engineering, information technology and management skills to small businesses, emerging ventures and charitable organizations. We tap into a broad community of professionals to combine technical skill with an aesthetic sense to help clients bring their visions to reality.
At Red Design we recognize that we are "standing on the shoulders of giants" and seek to leverage a broad and increasing body of knowledge. Our mission is to enrich the community through practical application of rapidly evolving capabilities of science and technology.
What our clients are saying.
"I have had both the privilege and pleasure of collaborating with Laura on a number of professional initiatives over the last few years. Her extremely thoughtful approach to her work is evident in all of her connections – both with people and with ideas. Laura has a beautiful way of inspiring possibility as she naturally shares her joy of lifelong learning."
Laura is an outstanding educator, who brings energy and enthusiasm to her every endeavor. She is passionate about her work, and her passion is contagious to those around her. Laura is innovative and creative and incorporates new techniques and ideas into her work. She also respects the ideas and opinions of others, which makes her a strong collaborator. Laura has a strong desire to continue her own learning as she seeks to enhance and extend the learning of others, both children and adults, and she communicates this desire through observation, documentation, and careful reflection on her work.
Throughout the 2005-06 school year, Laura co-presented a series of monthly workshops for a group of eight preschool and kindergarten teachers at Breakwater School. Laura created a very successful professional development model focused on guiding teachers in observing, reflecting and documenting children’s learning as a means of curriculum development and parent education.
Providing opportunities to observe, reflect and grow are key to Laura’s strengths as an educator, and make her a resource for all teachers…Laura has been able to give clarity and concrete feedback to students about how one can integrate educational theory into practice. Specifically, Laura’s nuanced ideas about listening to children, designing spaces for discovery, and providing provocative materials and situations to promote learning have been consistently informative and valuable to me and my students.
Creating experiences that deepen the understanding of young children's thought and action.