I am David Oh, M.S. in Early Childhood Ed and Inclusive Education. I am an early childhood educator. I have been working in early childhood settings for over 14 years. I have worked in a wide variety of educational settings: a lead teacher in various classrooms, a music specialist, directing an after school program, directing children’s theater and choral programs, and working as an early interventionist. I am currently enrolled as an Ed.D. student at Portland State University, and I work at the Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education (OCCD) as a Training and Certification Specialist.
I am heavily inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. I had the great opportunity to visit their schools and their beautiful city in Italy, and I spend the vast majority of my academic coursework studying their practices, or at the least viewing practices through a lens inspired by this approach.
I am also heavily inspired by Design Thinking, or Human-Centered Design, made famous by the Stanford D School and IDEO. This process for collaboration and solving complex problems in groups has been an effective tool for my own personal development. As I’ve brought this framework to schools, we have been able to move from framing issues as problems, and framing them as opportunities. This framework holds many parallels with several concepts that have come from the schools of Reggio Emilia, and the intersections of Design Thinking and the Reggio approach will be the focus of my doctoral work.
I have a background and experience in working with computer technology, web development, vocal music, and Spanish. Again, as someone inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, the world around us is producing and creating so much knowledge and I am keenly aware of how this integrates with my practices. I am a participant in this world, and I mention these other backgrounds because they also influence my perspective.
I currently reside in Portland, OR.
The following are resources that guide my practice. They are free for you to see, and will give you a sense of what I do.
Ken Robinson – Changing Paradigms
We have to think critically about the way our current education system operates. We have to look at how early childhood education fits into this paradigm. As more attention is shifted to the importance of early childhood education, shouldn’t we be prepared to share what our field knows about education? Should we adopt their paradigm, or should they learn from ours?
Stuart Ablon – Rethinking Challenging Kids
It’s not that children aren’t motivated to do well. There may be skills that are missing in regards to regulating and managing emotions and behavior. Specifically: Frustration tolerance, Flexibility, and Problem Solving. If this is the case, why do we create and manage systems to motivate children by dangling carrots and prodding sticks? A different take that could, in the eyes of those who developed Collaborative Problem Solving, save the lives of the children with whom you work.
Jane Nelson – Positive Discipline
My favorite, and by far most helpful book on understanding and guiding behavior. I remember first reading this book, and saying to myself that I’ve been doing it wrong for years. I remember feeling extremely guilty. I also remember feeling empowered. Instead of feeling frustrated at what I was facing in the classroom, I remember feeling like I had tools that were effective and helpful. This story seems to be the story for everyone who ever reads this book and applies its principles. Acknowledging our failed original assumptions, guilt, and then progress. Have you ever felt like no matter what you did to manage a behavior of a child in your classroom, and nothing has worked? This book is for you.
Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education
Do you wonder what the Reggio Emilia approach is all about? Do you wonder why they host thousands of educators every year for professional development initiatives and have started a movement beyond their small little town in Italy?
This book is the best book to get started in studying their approach. With words coming straight from the educators and thought leaders of Reggio Emilia, this book can be read, re-read, and re-read again.
Loris Malaguzzi – The Hundred Languages of Children
To give you a taste of the Reggio Emilia approach, and to get a sense for the deep love they have for children, here is a poem written by Loris Malaguzzi, who some would call the founder of this approach.