Leslie McFadden

Leslie McFadden
Professional Title

I hold a M.Ed. from Antioch New England Graduate School. Early Childhood/Elelmentary Education focus on Integrated Day. Independent Study Project "The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood: Children's Landscapes in Play" (Supervisor: David Sobel). 1989

I am also a returning graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth having earned my BA in Art with a minor in Outdoor and Therapudic Recreation. 1981

I am including in this post my statement of Philosophy of Education , that I was asked to write when I applied to work at UMD in the summer of 2016. I am hoping by including this others will have more of a sense of what I value as a leader of UMD's Children's Place and Preschool at the Park.

Philosophy of Education

My entire working career has been dedicated to promoting a view of progressive education that is developmental, relational & integrated. Although most of my career involved working in early childhood settings, my deeply held belief in the constructivist nature of learning has led me to experiences in other capacities of the human service field that apply similar philosophies.

I believe that an individual's sense of self is an ever evolving process which spirals inward and outward through-out the life span. As an individual's sense of self develops, I believe we cycle through connecting to a sense of security & trust (feeling at "home"), which is counter balanced with an internal drive to explore the world (to "reach out" to the new & unknown).

To me the term "Educator" means a trusted facilitator, guide & co-collaborator in the creation of learning experiences which are reflective of the individuals interests, strengths, & needs (developmental stages & challenges). I believe the driving forces of learning are "Wonder & Curiosity", wonder & curiosity at oneself, others and the world. As educators, I believe it is our job to assist in fostering relationships & inter-relationships with the physical & social environment for each individual. I further believe that learners need opportunities to express their current & evolving understandings of experiences through a variety of available means of expression.

Regarding Early Childhood Learning, I value project learning approaches which integrate children's physical, social-emotional & cognitive learning in a developmentally appropriate context that are also reflective of the social communities/cultures in which the children live. I am strongly influenced by the integration of the art & science and engaging children in the process of creative problem solving.
I respect & believe in parents as essential to the entire early learning process. This has been a primary social learning context as children's growth & development broadens into a larger social context & understanding of community. Parent's & family participation & relationships to the learning process is highly valued & essential.

I believe in the collaborative nature of learning and the fostering of support to each individual's discovery of potential & the sharing of their unique gifts & talents with the communities in which they live