Jill McLachlan, The Curious Teacher and Education Director of Blue Gum Early Childhood School, Sydney is a self-confessed wondering addict, with her feet anchored in hope and her gaze fixed on the possible. She delights in exploring big ideas, driven by a passion for learning and a desire to make meaning from the complexities of daily life. She tells the truth, even when it hurts, seeing life as an invitation to lean in, dream and find joy in the company of others. A child once described her as both ‘really serious and really silly’, beautifully capturing both Jill’s unrelenting passion and her playful spirit.
Jill is inspired by beautiful ideas and people who refuse to give up. Her personal story has taught her that life is not always as it seems – a lesson that has made her a life-long student of listening, conversation and complexity. Her delight as an educator is to make children’s learning visible and in doing so to disrupt limiting beliefs about childhood and heighten people’s expectations of what children can think, do, be, and bring to others. She is an unashamed champion of teachers, calling for recognition of teaching as an art – an art which demands of its artisans creativity, curiosity and love – as educators find ways together, to leap boldly into the unknown.
In her work as The Curious Teacher, Jill’s thinking cuts against the grain of the status quo, inviting educators to dig deep and reflect on what drives their practice. Deeply rooted in a social constructivist perspective, Jill invites educators to put rich theory into practice each and every day, bringing hope for new ways of doing and being in our educational settings. Her willingness to talk about her failures, as much as her successes, leaves listeners longing for more. Jill’s stories help teachers to see in practice how they can challenge dominant and power-based approaches to education and how together we might bravely re-imagine what it can mean to teach and learn alongside children.
Jill words are as powerful in print as they are when you meet her face to face. Her published works have positioned her as a highly regarded and influential Australian author. She is best known for her much celebrated book ‘Unearthing Why’, co-authored with Clare Britt, which brings together a diverse collection of stories that celebrate children’s capacity to learn and think together.