Wednesday, December 21, 2011

There are Magic Slides Carrying our Letters to Santa’s House!

After the trip to the post office, the teacher asked Henry: “How will our letters reach Santa?”

Henry sketched his theory:
“There’s a magic slide underneath the mailbox that can carry our letters all the way to the North Pole. So there are lots of magic slides because Santa gets mail from children all over the world. Sometimes when the slide is broken, the reindeer will carry the letters back to Santa. “

Monday, December 12, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!

No need to cut down a tree! These children found some perfect items to make one!
Take a few minutes and log into the city blog-click on the right tab to see today's post!

Friday, December 9, 2011

How Does He Do It?

There's not a single person fictional or real who has to do as much work as Santa. Travelling around the world in 24 hours, delivering millions of toys to children.
So how does he do it?
Here you go! Have a look at his projected route.
What a wonderful opportunity to do some mapping with the children.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Santa Claus Parade!

There is so much wonderful work that happens this time of the year. The magical stories of Santa, reindeer, elves, toys, and shopping flow freely through the classrooms. As teachers we are certain to find excellent  opportunities for the children to work on their story telling skills, mapping, math and so much more.
The spirit of generosity and humanity remains, as it should, in the heart of the work that we do, this time of the year and throughout the school term.
Happy Holidays to All!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Obituary for Childhood

Childhood was born at the beginning of time. He came into a world that promised him that he could run and play, discover and explore, think, investigate, and enjoy all the splendours that life had to offer. And for centuries the promise was kept. But all things change. And as time passed Childhood was plagued with Disease, Famine, Stife and Politics. Of all of these Politics did the worst damage to the soul of Childhood bringing him to the brink of extinction.
Politics, in all his glory and righteousness said, "I will send you to school and make you perfect. You will learn to sit in rows, be seen but not heard. You will stop your silly play and learn to read and write as soon as you can speak. You will walk with your eyes to the ground. You will not question the why and how of things simply accept the because. Zip your coats, see to your own needs, do not be concerned with napping, warm hugs, clean and dry clothes. Do not look to your teachers for comfort. Walk alone, eat in silence."

And Politics was cunning. He assured the Parents of Childhood that the classroom would be filled with riches.
It was never so. And as the years passed Childhood bore the burden of the seeds sown by Politics. His shoulders bent and his soul darkened and eventually he died.

Thank you Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario for the wonderful Full Time Kindergarten you have given the children of Ontario. What will your legacy be to them? I am relieved that my children are done with the school system. The full day kindergarten that has been forced upon them is a travesty.
Thank you to the teachers and administrators who have welcomed me into their schools so I could see for myself that, as expected, nothing of what Mr. McGuinty promised to implement is in place.
 For example, where are the large wooden blocks that we see on the Full Day learning commercial Not one of the 30 classrooms that I visited had blocks or toys for that matter.
So what do the children do all day?
Oh yes, they color photocopied apples.
No wonder Childhood withered and died!
You should have left him in the hands of Early Childhood Educators.
 Mr. McGuinty, why did you use Childhood to gain votes from unsuspecting Parents making them think that school is better for young children than preschool.
Parents still have a choice. Hopefully they will make the right one.
To those exceptional kindergarten teachers who are making a difference, this post is not for you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Should Education be Enjoyable?

In her insightful book, Intellectual Emergencies: Some Reflections on Mothering and Teaching Lilian Katz observes....
"The goal of education is not enjoyment; that is the goal of entertainment.... The goal of education is to engage the minds of the learners so that their understandings of significant phenomena and events become deeper, clearer, and more accurate. When we succeed at engaging their minds in such things, they find it enjoyable. But, though enjoyment cannot be our main goal, it can be a by-product of good teaching."

I'm not at all certain that I can support this particular point of view. Although I must say that I have not had the opportunity to read the book so I cannot say for certain what the context of the quote might be.
However I think it is worth addressing because many of the educators that I have worked with, think this way. It is in our most enjoyable moments that we build memories, observe new things, feel inspired to create, become motivated.  If a child is not drawn to an enjoyable task then how will he stay focused or even want to engage?
A life lived in its fullest measure is one that is basked in seeking and doing that which we love and enjoy most. Take your career for example. Those who work with passion are content and find deep fulfillment. Those who do mundane task simply for survival find little pleasure.
So to then is it with the child's work. As educators we must be challenged to impart and share knowledge with children in engaging, entertaining and enlightening ways so that the children grow as a learners and constructors of knowledge. If a child is presented with a worksheet that instructs him to color in a hundred objects, will he find that engaging and then enjoyable? Would it not be better then to offer the child 10 jars and ask him to fill each jar with 10 jelly beans to make 10 sets of 10. Then of course he could enjoy one jar of treats when he has completed his task. I'm certain (if the child is cognitively ready ) the next time those jars come out he will be the first to the task.
So yes let's find wonderful ways to make learning enjoyable. That is the right of all human beings!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remember and Be Grateful

We wear poppies to remind us that the soldiers went to war and died. In the war there are two kinds of soldiers; the good one and the bad ones. Luckily the good one won and the bad ones are lying on the ground. Noah

What is remembrance day?
“We remember our soldiers who died in the war. Canadian soldiers were fighting the bad guys who attacked the good people. They protected them and kept them safe. We wear a poppy to honour and remember our soldiers. “ – Henry

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let Go of Your Traditional Thinking!

I’m often asked this question, “Where do I begin as a teacher to make change?”
There are two fundamental considerations. You must first examine your image of the child and then, in order to change, you must be willing to rid yourself of traditional assumptions and roles. You must have no fear and you must be willing to relinquish control.
So let go of the familiar and believe in the competencies of young children. You are there to support their journey in learning; to be a co constructor of knowledge. You must challenge them, listen to their theories about how the world works; assist them to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct. Each challenge, each new discovery gives the child new insight.
Calm your environment. When I visit Kindergarten classrooms I am overwhelmed by the chaos on the walls. Little of what I see speaks of the children who occupy the classroom.
My eyes are confused by the colourful bulletin board paper lined with fancy thematic edges. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about! Then there’s the classic ABC strips, the good old calendars with the pre cut umbrellas, and suns; the number strips, the pre cut jars full of bugs and who knows what else. And of course they are all hanging metres above the child’s eye view.
Don’t worry about that because even if they were down low the children would rarely look at them, especially if they’ve been hanging there for a full school term.
Now look around your room. Does the children’s work look all the same? Twenty four perfect pre cut poppies all filled with the same pre cut tiny squares; paintings that are made with pre cut sponges; work sheets; labelled centres just in case the children are not capable of figuring out where that doll centre might be or where those crayons would go. Need I say more?
Strip down those boards. Make your background an off white; remove the edging. You don’t need it. Now fill those boards with authentic work; children’s representations of themselves; a family tree; a bouquet of daisies; a child’s theory on how emails travel. The possibilities are endless. Are you worried that the children won’t learn to read and write if you don’t post work sheets or alphabet strips?
Have no fear! Take a walk through the park and find things that begin with the letter A. Bring them back to the classroom, document your journey, post it, display it, live it and they will learn it.
Now you are ready to begin an exciting new adventure

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Light Up the Room!

The projector is a must have tool in every classroom from infants to kindergarten. It helps us to transcend the ordinary!
Light, when suddenly let in, dazzles and hurts and almost blinds us: but this soon passes away, and it seems to become the only element we can exist in. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Spooky Halloween to You All

This time of the year we simply can't deny the children the opportunity to express their fascination with those ghoulish ghouls and jack-o-lanterns. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

That Perfect Little Bunny

A tree truck slab, by it very design, prompted Lorena to make this bunny. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Just a Broken Tree!

The all green tree.

The funny tree;half green and half colorful.

The totally changed tree!

The broken tree!

During our morning nature walk the children noticed an abundance of colourful trees.

Sofia- This tree is all green but the other ones are colourful.

Then Karina noticed a tree that was half green and half yellow and orange.

Karina- This is a funny tree!

Teacher- Why is it funny?

Karina- It has different colors on it because it is autumn now!

As we walked further along the path Jack noticed a tree with leaves that had completely changed. 

Jack- The leaves will fall off the tree soon because they are different colors and winter is coming!

Leo stumbled upon a tree that had no leaves.

Leo- This tree is broken!

Teacher- Why do you think this tree is broken?

Leo- The wind made the leaves fall to the ground so the tree is broken.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear Colleagues, Friends and Fellow Teachers,

On behalf of all the educators at Reggio Kids, we would like to thank you for visiting our blog. Since it was launched in May of 2010 we have had 35744 visits from people all over the world. I have had the pleasure to dialogue with educators from China, Malaysia, Australia, Ireland, Italy and so many more.
We look forward to continuing our relationships and hope that you find as much joy in viewing these entries as we find in sharing them.

In the next few weeks, by popular request to post an ongoing project, a sister blog, will be launched to follow the exploration of our city, Toronto; a project that is being currently pursued by our three JK/SK Classes.

For now I wish you a life full of adventure.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?

This wonderful story by Eric Carle provides children with a hands on approach to learning colors. So put away those flash cards and precut tools and make some fossils!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Beautiful House

“There is a mountain in the forest with a lake. There is a house on top of the mountain because people live there. I live in a house too! My house also has a door like this one. Now let’s do the sky, the sky is blue but the clouds are white”. -Dimi

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don't Fall In The Water!

Leo noticed a long stick resting on the wall and asked if he could use it to make a bridge.  Jack assisted him by creating one side of the base (using 5 tree cookies). Meanwhile Leo and Charlotte stacked six cookies on the opposite side. Jack placed the stick on top of the two bases.
Teacher- What is happening to the bridge?
Leo- It’s falling. It’s falling, the people will fall into the water.
Teacher- Do you know why the people will fall in the water?
Leo- It’s not even.
Jack- It has to be the same on both sides so the people won’t fall off. ( A lesson in symmetrical building)
Leo- We need a railing.
Teacher- Why do we need a railing?
Leo- If the people don’t have anything to hold onto the people will fall off the bridge.
Teacher- So what do you suggest we do about that?
Jack- We need to make a railing so the people don’t fall into the water.