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Columbia College Chicago
Karen Haigh
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Karen Haigh

Karen M. Haigh, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Early Childhood Education program in the Education Department at Columbia College Chicago, where she often teaches “Preprimary Methods,” “History and Philosophy of Education,” and “Introduction to Early Childhood Education.”
Dr. Haigh joined Columbia College Chicago in 2008. She holds a PhD in Arts and Sciences with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from Union Institute and University (2009); an MEd in Child Development from Erikson Institute (affiliated with Loyola University) (1986); and a BA in Pre-Primary Education and Human Development from National College of Education (1976).

Dr. Haigh has worked extensively with diverse, inner-city, and low-income populations in Head Start, subsidized childcare, and pre-kindergarten state programs. She continues to work with teacher development as well as early childhood administration with an emphasis on education coordinators and site director development. Her areas of expertise include Reggio Emilia-inspired principles and practices in an American context, with a particular focus on the classroom environment, and the role of materials and languages, documentation, and listening. Additionally, she in an expert in observation, the development of emergent curriculum, parent partnerships, collaboration, and professional development. She has also participated in action research in various preschool settings.

Dr. Haigh coauthored, We are All Explorers: Learning and Teaching with Reggio Principles in Urban Settings. She also contributed chapters/sections in the following books: Insights and Inspirations, Next Steps Towards the Reggio Way, and First Steps Towards the Reggio Way. Additionally, she has written articles for Theory Into Practice, Child Care Information Exchange, and Innovations in Early Education. She continues to study action research, professional development, and emergent curriculum development within her current projects. She is Project Director for the Reflective Learning in Action (RELAY ) Project, a professional development initiative for education coordinators, site directors, and educational leaders of community-based Head Start agencies.

Dr. Haigh has served as a founding board member for the North American Reggio Alliance (NAREA); an advisory board member for Wayne State’s Innovations journal; as co-chair for Crossroads in Chicago, bringing the Wonder of Learning Exhibit to Chicago; as a board member for Illinois Action for Children; and as a board member for the Mary Crane Nursery School, as well as serving on numerous Chicago Metro Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) committees. She has led five Chicago area leadership delegations to Reggio Emilia study tours in Italy.

Dr. Haigh has worked as a teacher of young children, an education coordinator, and program director within Chicago area social service agencies, and as Director of Professional Development for the Chicago Public Schools Early Childhood Education Department. She has worked with both in-service and pre-service teachers over the past 30 years. She continues to consult regularly to public schools and Head Start Programs.

Contact Dr. Karen M. Haigh: Karen Haigh

By Mail:
Education Department
Columbia College Chicago
600 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

Office Location:
33 E. Congress Parkway, Room 400