Product Code:
547985 (Softbound)
978-1-60554-798-5 (Softbound)
Age Focus: 3-8
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Give your program that special “buzz” of learning

How do educators create a strong culture of learning for their students? Using her everyday research approach, in the tradition of the pedagogistas of Reggio Emilia, author Lisa Burman observed several exceptional programs and classrooms and identified some common threads: engagement, agency, identity, and belonging, which together combine to create a culture of agency. Her framework for supporting a culture of agency has five pillars:

  1. Relationships
  2. Rituals for belonging and identity
  3. Language of agency
  4. Environment
  5. Learning Contexts
Using this framework will help you bring intentionality as you build your program culture to support children’s agency and learning. The term agency is widely used, but often misunderstood as “giving children choice.” Agency is far more than this, and the most powerful learning happens when personal agency is connected to community agency: we are only as strong as each other. These connections form the heart of a democratic education: one that values the rights of the child and empowers participation, shared power, respect for diversity, and self-efficacy.

Softbound, 160 pgs


"I feel so honored to be asked to write this review for my friend and her wonderful, important book. It is because of Lisa that I first began to reflect on the importance of agency in the lives of children and their teachers. I am grateful for that spark and for all the theoretical and practical knowledge within the pages of A Culture of Agency. Built on relationships, the framework of rituals of belonging and identity, language of agency, environment, and learning contexts can be applied anywhere in the world, to any classroom. Read this book! It will be a transformational experience." —Dr. Diane Kashin, RECE

"Now more than ever, children deserve a sense of control and joy as they learn. At a time when so many choices have been made for them, Lisa Burman invites us to recenter children. A Culture of Agency guides educators and caregivers alike to help communities of young learners build authentic relationships based on curiosity, connection, and self-worth. This timely reminder urges us to examine our intentions around engagement and build a true sense of belonging for children and ourselves. " —Molly Wheeler, Assistant Professor, St. Catherine University's Early Childhood and Montessori Programs in St. Paul, MN

About Lisa Burman

Lisa Burman has been an educator for thirty-six years, twenty of these spent as an educational consultant. She is currently the Director and Principal Consultant of Lisa Burman Consultants, which is more..