July 17, 2016

To: Osceola County School Board

It is my pleasure to write a letter of support for the application of Creative Inspiration Journey School to become a school of choice in your school district. As a UCF faculty member in the College of Education and Human Performance, my primary role is to prepare teacher candidates for the enormous responsibility of teaching children. This preparation must include theoretical knowledge and hands-on practice with high-level teaching approaches in order to ensure our future teachers implement research-based best teaching practices.

Last semester 32 students in my curriculum course joined me on a field trip to the Creative Inspiration Journey School in Winter Springs for the purpose of observing classrooms and teachers inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. This curriculum approach is the foundation of all learning—based on the thinking of Piaget, Malaguzzi, Rinaldi, and an entire community over 70 years ago who worked together to create one of the most well-respected education approaches in the world. A reflection from one of my teacher candidates stated, “The Creative Inspiration Journey School in Winter Springs, FL, is an excellent example of a school that is using the types of developmentally appropriate practices that we have learned about in this course. The children and teachers utilize natural materials, physical movement, art and messy experimentation, and hands-on participation in their learning, while the teachers act as guides to scaffold the children’s learning based on students’ interests, construction of their knowledge, and standards.”

I share this observation to reinforce the wonderful opportunity afforded to the children and families of Osceola County to have a school which focuses on respecting children’s thinking, interests, and abilities. This is a true example of differentiated instruction. In addition to my students observing at Creative Inspiration Journey School, I have watched from the outset as the school’s educational leaders began with an idea to offer a school that honors children’s thinking and respects the teachers as professionals and brought this idea to a reality. As part of a Study Abroad Program, I travel with UCF students to Reggio Emilia, Italy for the express purpose of educating future educators in a research-based curriculum approach that is a foundation for supporting all domains of development and learning. Imagine my delight in having a school in our backyard which implements a Reggio-inspired school model.

Besides the value of Creative Inspiration Journey School to children and families, it also provides opportunities for teacher candidates to observe, complete service-learning course requirements, and senior internship placements. Osceola County Public School District is respected for its support of innovative, educational thinking. Adding Creative Inspiration Journey School to this district’s schools will enhance the educational options for students of all abilities, languages, and backgrounds and I support this application.

Regards,

Judith N. Levin

Dr. Judith N. Levin, Associate Lecturer
University of Central Florida
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Early Childhood Development and Education