Each year, the team at the Early Learning Institute has aimed to choose keynote and featured speakers whose work is influencing current practices and ideas we are exploring as a group. This year, we will have two featured speakers: Dr. Bob Coulter, director of the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and Dr. Mary Jane Moran, Child and Family Studies Department Head at the University of Tennessee. In this post, we will introduce you to Dr. Coulter and you will read about Dr. Moran in a future post.
Bob Coulter, Ed. D., is an insightful and inspiring advocate for meaningful, place-based learning experiences rich with connections and productive participation at the local level. Beginning his career as an elementary science and mathematics teacher, Bob has remained passionate about involving kids and teachers in co-creating their learning through deep engagement with their community. His knowledge, experience and affable manner make him a welcome voice to those looking to help children connect with and grow through authentic relationships with real places.
Bob directs the Litszinger Road Ecology Center in the heart of St Louis, Missouri, and is the author of two recent books: No More Robots: Building Kid’s Character, Competence, and Sense of Place (2014), and Building Kid’s Citizenship Through Community Engagement (2017). We anticipate invigorating dialogue with Bob at the 2018 Early Learning Institute!
“In my work with young children I am constantly looking for new sources of inspiration, especially in regards to helping the children in my classroom become caring, responsible citizens of their classroom community and their community at large. Bob Coulter has focused on this exact objective in much of his work. In No More Robots (2013), Bob Coulter discusses the many positive outcomes when children and teachers get out of the classroom and into their community, one of which is “building a participatory society” (p. 4). Another element of Bob Coulter’s work that I find particularly applicable to my work in the classroom is his impassioned cry for children AND teachers to be active participants in the learning process. I particularly love his description of inquiry as “an active, personal quest to know” because it calls to mind the hands-on, fully engaged work I aspire to with my children every day (Coulter, 2013, p. 35).” -Katie Denton-Walls, preschool teacher