We feel fortunate to have met Will Parnell last spring while a small group of ELC educators were on a study tour in Reggio Emilia. We also were able to spend time with him at the wonderful summer conference our neighbors at East Tennessee State University hosts each year. Our team was instantly drawn to his energy and enthusiasm for the profession we share and think ELI participants will connect with his ideas about documentation, knowledge of Reggio Emilia, and his vast experience in the early education field. We are thrilled to welcome him to Knoxville and are looking forward to his talk and breakout session at the ELI this June. Check out his bio below and get excited for our time together this summer!
Will Parnell, EdD, is a professor in early childhood education, department chair of Curriculum and Instruction, and a pedagogical liaison to the Helen Gordon Child Development Center at Portland State University. His specialty areas are rethinking readiness, disrupting traditional early childhood research, creating learning designs, and documenting and making young children’s learning visible. Dr. Parnell currently serves as president-elect of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Education’s board, a board member for A Renaissance School of Arts and Sciences, committee member of the Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education program, and president of the Inventing Remida Portland project.
Dr. Parnell finished his doctorate in education at PSU in 2005, and has been researching Reggio-inspired practices related to making listening and learning visible and valued, and working with children’s creative expression, representational work and Remida creative reuse materials. His most recent research includes a phenomenological arts-based methodology—a/r/tography—as a way to make meaning of action research in early childhood education classrooms. Dr. Parnell has presented on and written many journal articles and book chapters about his research. He has co-edited and authored three books: Making Meaning in Early Childhood Research, Disrupting Research in Early Childhood Education, and Rethinking Readiness in Early Childhood Education. His other scholarly research articles and book chapters focus on children, teachers, and parents’ lived experiences.
Dr. Parnell has been in the early education field since 1986 with a significant background in teaching and leadership ranging from work in lab schools, parent cooperatives, and public-school settings. He has consulted and started several schools for young children, and designed children’s indoor and outdoor spaces with local architects.