5 TED Talks Every Preschool Educator Should Watch

Watching a TED talk is like being able to pick and choose between all the best sessions at hundreds of different education conferences. You can be inspired, fascinated and informed all at the same time!

Although, we have to say – it’s not the complete conference experience. You will be ‘missing out’ on any networking that happens while eating tiny muffins and drinking over brewed coffee, all as you try to work out where you need to be for your next session.

Instead, you can watch from the comfort of your own couch (or bed) and explore your options until you’ve chosen the talk you feel like watching.   Plus, the Educa team recommend you buy yourself viewing chocolate – after all it is brain food

TED – Background

Just in case you aren’t all over what TED is about – here’s some background from them

“TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.”

— TED [www.ted.com/about/our-organization]

TED Talks are a fantastic resource that we encourage preschool educators to share. But with 2200+ talks that range from the inspiring to the ingenious it can become overwhelming choosing what to watch.

That’s why we’re here to help. We’ve chosen what we think are 5 of the best TED talks relating to early childhood education for you . We strongly suggest you bookmark this blogpost so you can come back to it. These are all worth watching – when it best suits you!

Ken Robinson – Do schools kill creativity?

First up for preschool educators here’s one from 2006. It is renowned for its insight into connections between creativity and education.

While we know you have probably seen this talk by Sir Ken Robinson,  it is simply too good to leave off this list. It fits perfectly with our philosophies around unstructured learning at preschool. In it, Sir Ken makes his case “for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity”. Watch it more than once. There’s a reason it continues to  feature on TED’s top 20 most popular talks of all time.

Takaharu Tezuka – The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen

Takaharu Tezuka is a respected Japanese architect who designed an amazing kindergarten in Tokyo. He discusses how he incorporates trees and circles and water and open spaces to delight the children who spend time there. His ideas have been echoed in child care and preschool spaces around the world. Well worth a watch.

Rita F. Pierson – Every kid needs a champion  

Rita F. Pierson (1952 – 2013) was a teacher for 40 years and for her, teaching and learning is all about human connection and “significant relationships”. As early childhood educators know, the rewards aren’t always monetary. Her TED talk has had more than 1.5 million views because she is forthright and inspiring. Her wisdom as a veteran teacher resonates for preschool educators with her straightforward belief that while it’s not always easy, teaching and learning should be about joy. We couldn’t agree more.

Timothy Bartik – The economic case for preschool

Timothy Bartik addresses the sometimes ignored economic benefits to us all of early childhood education. His background as an economist and author of  Investing in Kids numbers him among the the economists calling for more investment in early childhood education

“In this well-argued talk, Timothy Bartik makes the macro-economic case for preschool education. The economic benefits of well-educated kids, it turns out, go well beyond the altruistic.”

Stuart Brown – Play is more than just fun

Be smarter at any age! Preschool educators know the importance of play for learning – so this concept won’t be new for you.  But this presentation explores the importance of play for all members of society. You may not know that in 2008 there was a  TED conference on “serious play”. This talk comes out of that conference

 “A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.”

Curated Lists –  more TED talks for preschool educators

What we also love about TED is how they curate lists, so you can search on topics relevant to you and get a whole list to view – Here are just a very few examples*

*If you join TED, you can post comments, save talks to watch later and track TED-Ed lessons.

TED Talks are a fantastic free way for preschool educators to be inspired. If there are any TED talks you have enjoyed that you want to share with other educators, we would love to hear your suggestions.

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