Welcome to REVABILITIES™!
During the turbulent, terrifying early days of the pandemic, I wondered. Was education standing at a founding moment, the birth of something new?
From the very start of the pandemic, I made a choice.
Grief in the world was overwhelming. While I could not make any significant impact to lessen the suffering, there was something I could do. Running a childcare center in downstate NY, one of the first and worst COVID hotspots in the United States, I could remain open and serve those in my care. Deemed essential, I was allowed, and even encouraged, to do so.
In the early days, and even months of the pandemic, only a tiny number of children of essential workers attended. Yet I stayed open for them, while also providing remote learning for free for those remaining at home. In doing so, I recognized something remarkable occurring. Not only were my team and I functioning under incredible adversity. We were getting better. I don't mean incrementally better. We were becoming exponentially better.
Sensing that I was not alone, I reached out to other educators. Many responded. Whether deemed essential and remaining open, or having shifted to remote learning, we were serving. We were stepping in, responsive to the needs of our students, their families, and our professional teams during times of global, local, and personal trauma. Creating what I came to refer to as havens of hope, we were designing environments providing quality care and learning in a world in need of healing. We were becoming ever more responsive to the demands of the times in which we found ourselves. And in doing so, we were intuitively creating new approaches to learning and care.
Wanting to tell our story, I wrote a book documenting our experiences. Tentatively titled Havens of Hope, my book will be published early 2022. It includes the experiences of:
Ignited to action by adversity, many of us discovered new possibilities for impactful learning and care. Reflecting on our experiences, I wondered. Could we build on what we had already accomplished, launching new approaches to learning?
I thought back to approaches to learning born out of 20th century crises. Montessori learning, emphasizing independence, emerged in Italy during the early 20th century. It was a time of economic revitalization paired with painful inequity. The Waldorf approach, focused on holistic revitalization, was born in a devastated Germany in the months following World War I. Reggio-inspired education came to life in the days following WWII in a region of northern Italy active in the resistance. Its aim was to prepare children to stand strong against the oppression, inequity, and injustice they knew had not ended with the conclusion of the war.
Were we facing a founding moment as Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio had before us; the beginning of something new? Seeking to answer that question, REVABILITIES™ was born.
The name is an acronym. It expands upon pillars that had long been important to me: Relationships, Experiences, and Values. One of my pre-COVID mantras had long been, REV it Up! By this I meant provide relationship-driven, experiential, values-based learning.
I wondered. Would REV describe what we accomplished navigating through pandemic? I tried to fit our experiences into the framework, and could not. We needed more.
REVABILITIES™, expanding on REV, stands for:
R - Relationships and Responsiveness (We became more attuned and responsive to those in our care and in our lives.)
E - Experiences and Environment (We intentionally designed our environments, and the experiences we facilitated, to create what I came to refer to as havens of hope. We designed settings providing emotional safety and nurturing embrace within a world in need of healing.)
V- Vision and Values (We reinvigorated the possibilities for bringing powerful contemporary visions for learning and care to life, and living our values.)
A - Adversity and Authenticity (Adversity helped us grow stronger and we found ways, not to mirror the approaches of others, but to birth approaches uniquely and authentically our own.)
B - Budget and Busy-ness (We utilized our resources, money as well as time, far more intentionally. Through constraints, we discovered incredible creativity.)
ILITIES - Abilities and Possibilities (We leveled-up our skills, in the process discovering possibilities we had not previously imagined.)
Committed to reaching a wide audience of educators with vision, REVABILITIES™ will be offering lots of free content. We'll also soon be making available a range of opportunities to learn with us in greater depth through training, coaching, and professional development programs. To learn more, I invite you to join our mailing list or participate in ongoing conversation within our Facebook group.
I truly look forward to learning with you!