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Reimagining Heartbreak: An Educator's Journey to Reclaim Whole-Heartedness

by Shelley Brandon, edited by Ann Pelo and Margie Carter
ITEM #: 3600591

Stop. Look. Listen. Feel. Come fully alive in your encounters with young children. Reimagining Heartbreak is a call to return to fullhearted, embodied teaching. It is a journey through the woods and into the depths. Shelley Brandon’s stories reveal the extraordinary beauty that is possible in ordinary life. Can you dare to bring your whole self to your work with young children? Can you afford not to?

Reimagining Heartbreak is part of the Reimagining Our Work (ROW) book collection. Use the ROW collection to discover how early childhood educators in the field are reimagining their work and thinking alongside children.


"Reimagining Heartbreak weaves a charming spell. Shelley brings you down on the ground, into the woods, and into the preschoolers’ world where heart-breaking experiences, both happy and sad, abound. The children find walking sticks, get stuck, cry, get amazed and Shelley allows her heart to break open and feel their joy and pain as her joy and pain. Literacy and numeracy are quietly absent. Early childhood education can be about opening up to happiness and sadness for the children and teachers alike. Shelley captivates us with these openings."

- David Sobel, Antioch University and Best-Selling Author

"Shelley Brandon’s poetic narrative paints pictures of what it is to be deeply attuned to the vibrations all around us - to the sensibilities of all our relations. She is an educator who has reclaimed the privilege to be truly, aesthetically, present alongside whole-hearted toddlers. We are invited into the provocative refocusing that happens when one word is added - from 'I felt my heart break', to 'I felt my heart break open', and to recognize the values we can bring to our work with children that will welcome these kinds of liberating breaks. "

- Karyn Callaghan, President, Ontario Reggio Association

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: The Forest as Home Ground
  • Chapter Two: The Teacher
  • Chapter Three: The Gift
  • Chapter Four: Stuck
  • Chapter Five: Snow Monkeys
  • Chapter Six: Snail Encounter
  • Chapter Seven: Broken
  • Chapter Eight: Hush
  • About the Author
  • Coda
  • Study Guide

136 Pages

About the Author

Stacy BengeShelley is an Early Years Educator and Pedagogical Leader. She holds a BA(Hons) in History from Western University as well as a Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Fanshawe College. Shelley’s career in early years settings spans over 28 years. When she’s not in the forest with a group of children, Shelley is planning her next big Canadian road trip with her sister and her dogs. Shelley resides in London, Ontario, Canada.

ISBN: 978-0-942702-92-7