Can you remember the world of movement, wonder, and intense sensation that you
lived in when you were six years old? Does education mean filling a bucket or does
it mean lighting a fire?
In today’s predominant educational environment, where high-stakes testing and anxiety
reign, it’s clear that the goal, though implicit, is to fill buckets. Kim Allsup would like us
to start lighting fires—to stop treating children like empty buckets. She sees that the
vital essence of education has been sucked out of most schools today; that we must
strive, above all, to it bring back, and that the situation is indeed urgent. Nevertheless,
this book contains no arguments; it is not a change-of-policy proposal, nor is it a
Kim Allsup is a teacher and a teller of stories, and so this book, looking only at the surface,
tells the story of the six years she spent as a teacher with her class. However, it does much
more than that. Funny, poignant, moving, relatable, and, finally, life-affirming and hopeful,
this memoir gently shows the way to an educational approach worthy
of childhood—education rooted in wonder.
Wonder is a challenging word. It has been overused, abused, and commercialized, and its
true definition is perhaps endangered. Yet, wonder is a uniquely human experience, and to
stifle or remove it from the lives of our children is to court a barren and dismal future.
Wonder remains alive, but we may need to be reminded of it. This story is a living reminder
of the simple beauty of childhood wonder and our responsibility to
the future—Never give it up!
- Working with Wonder
- Turning Point
- Main Lessons
- School as It Should Be