Educator of the Week: Marie Clay

Marie Clay was born in Wellington in 1926. Born in the country of New Zealand, education was important and there were lots of funds prioritized for schools and research. As Clay began to grow up, she started learning how to teach and started to study more research about child psychology and how they learn in school.

She was awarded a primary teacher’s certificate after finishing her teaching training in 1945. Around that time, she was also working towards a bachelor of arts degree. Later she began work on child psychology at the University of Minnesota, which she describes as a turning moment in how she perceived studying how children learn.

One of her biggest contributions to education was her program called Reading Recovery. This program worked to bring the lowest children up to the average progress of the classrooms. The research stated that if you gave children who struggled with reading and writing 30-minute daily lessons, most children were able to catch up with the rest of the class and participate without issue. She has also done work in other areas as well such as writing, oral language, and more

Her work is now used both nationally and internationally. It has contributed to what may be possible for individual students if they are given different routes to get to the same outcome.