Welcome to the Learning Studio

The Learning Studio will consider the learning ecology of early childhood education from child development to classroom practice, from research to policy. It will explore the definition of early learning and the process of teacher preparation. This blog will fill an important niche related to creating a national forum for engaging early childhood teachers and teacher educators in the Collaboratory and support the creation of a professional learning community.

The inspiration for this blog was a post I wrote in 2009 when I was writing for Pre-K Now. In it I described my discomfort with becoming a supervisor and walking into other teachers’ classrooms. It felt like walking into an artist’s studio. Everything misplaced, everything in process, everything happening, and I missed it. I can actually point to this post as the very first time I admitted to myself I needed to be a teacher not a supervisor. After two and a half years out of the classroom I went back. In the meantime I earned my Ph.D. in education and recently, through my adjunct teaching, realized I love teaching adults as much as I love teaching kids. It is different, less primal, less disorganized, more higher level thinking and discussion but the spark is still there. As I learn from my students, both young and old, I hope you will join me and let me know where you are coming from. I am inviting you into my studio, behind the scenes of the grades, the assessments, and the planning to see how I make learning.

image: http://www.buzzle.com/img/articleImages/294252-3328-5.jpg

Related categories:
  • AnneJolly

    Sounds useful and exciting!

    This will be a great resource, John!  makes me wish I were working in early childhood!  The name is really what drew me to the post in the first place . . . The Learning Studio . . . what a great title for anything to do with education. 


    • JohnHolland

      Thank you

      Thanks Anne. You are the DaVinci of education for me. I wish I could see your studio some day.


  • JustinMinkel

    Can’t wait.

    John, being a dad has brought home to me the importance of early childhood ed in a way that being a teacher didn’t (at least not fully.)  As a male teacher in lower elementary, I also see a huge benefit to young kids from having more male teachers.  At my daughter’s preschool last year, there was one man, on a staff of about 40, and he was the director. 

    Thanks for being such a compelling voice on this topic.


    • JohnHolland


      One of the key struggles for men in early childhood education seems to be cultural conflict between caring and manhood. There are many of the traits of being a “man” that on the surface seem to distance men from caring relationships. It is one of the falsehoods I hope to explore. Thanks for your input Justin.

  • jon hanbury

    mary mary quite contrary………..


    as you know, my love is math……….but my passion is kinder-garden.  (we are doing a garden theme this year in one of my schools — “learning and growing together”.  as an artist, i am not surprised by the title — learning studio.  i agree with anne that this title is spot on — a studio suggests that learning is messy!  i look forward to reading more.

    i am also interested in learning more about your work with adults.  i’ve always said that when i grow up, i want to work in a university setting, so i am also interested in learning about teaching adult learners.

    i wish you well as you begin your journey this year.

    • JohnHolland

      With Silver Bells, And Cockle Shells, And so my garden grows.

      Thanks so much Jon! an thank you from refraining from caps. 😉 they are so haughty. Capital this capital that.

      I often reach for the eco system in explaining my teaching. It helps to keep the sports metaphors at bay. Hope you have a wonderful year in your garden.

  • CherylSuliteanu

    the artistry of teaching and learning

    John I love the imagery that you use to describe how you came to be doing the work that you’re doing – teaching is messy, it’s often chaotic, and the artistry of making it all happen in a way that inspires young minds is very special. 

    Have you considered how to incorporate families into your niche? Perhaps with your experience working with adult learners, you could invite families to be part of the learning process – allow them behind-the-scenes access, differentiated from the educator perspective and more focused on integrating learning from school to home?

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts! (And to participating in your Learning Studio!!)

    • JohnHolland

      Family involvment

      Thanks Cheryl. I spent all day going to my students homes in our community housing projects today to do just that. One of the findings of my dissertation was that the definition of effective teaching in high poverty early childhood settings should include a broadened definition of emergent literacy development to include family and community culture. Looking forward to learning with you.

  • AllisonSampish

    Can’t wait

    Hey John- I can’t wait to follow your blog- hopefully I clicked the right buttons and will be able to start reading and gaining such great insight from your experience and expertise!