Ode to Teacher Tom

Happy Birthday shout out to the one and only Teacher Tom…

I have been reading educational, holistic living, early childhood, parenting and mommy blogs for more than a decade, and one blog of stands out more than the rest. Teacher Tom! 

Teacher Tom is a play-based early childhood teacher based in Seattle and he writes about daily stories and tidbits from his classroom….but he seamlessly weaves in positive discourse about freedom, democracy, rights, and an unwavering trust in children.

Last summer I was near his stomping grounds and I was trying to summons the courage to ask to come visit his program. I typed up a catchy (albeit slightly “fangirl”) message but it sat unsent in my email under drafts. I was kind of giddy to at the thought of going to see his utopia first hand. Since Teacher Tom does claim his program to be the Center of the Universe, it really should be part of our one day stop in Seattle. Then the ‘rational gremlins’ came into my thinking I figured “Chances are too many people want to visit his classroom”. He is probably is turning them away in droves. So why bother asking.

Visiting with Teacher Tom might be as iconic as seeing the fish mongers toss fish!

I mean Teacher Tom is at least as famous as the Gum Wall!

We could even bring him a cup of coffee from a little cafe we learned about!

So I kinda regret not summoning the courage to ask for a tour or a meet up with Teacher Tom. But today as I read his daily post, I felt motivated to finally say thanks, and was moved to send this happy birthday blog post message, from the other side of the country.

Thank you, Teacher Tom for being a storyteller. A weaver of children’s experiences that powerfully demonstrate the deep engaged learning that can occur in a play-based early childhood education program. Thank you for showing us an example of honoring and trusting children to learn through self-directed play.

Honestly, over the years a few of your posts grate my “public school teacher” nerves. I’d read and grumble, “Teacher Tom…clearly out of touch with reality”. But I’d keep coming back to read because I know that his program is on to something, and through reading his approach I began to become clearer in my own approach to ECE. I agree that creating a high quality preschool program is essentially growing your “own unique and quirky community” that honors the place and people where the program is located. I continue to learn and grow through reading your blog, and hope that you continue to do so for many, many years!

Thank you for continuing to blog, Teacher Tom. If you find your way to Vermont, I have a tipi you can stay in or can build you snow quinzee. And if I find my way back to Seattle, I will dust off that email and ask to stop by!