Monday, September 28, 2015

The Hundred Languages of Teachers

We often reflect on The Hundred Languages of Children; the voices, competencies, manner in which children express their thoughts, theories and experiences.
But what of the teacher's languages, does she not have or require a hundred and a hundred more?

If we consider that each child learns in different ways then we must also consider that each teacher thinks and negotiates learning in different ways.
The truth is, and experience has taught me, that not every teacher can work in a Reggio Inspired, Inquiry Based, Emergent context.

I  know that this thinking is going to ruffle some feathers. None the less it is a serious consideration.
I have mentored teachers for over 30 years and I've come to realize that this type of context is not for every educator.
Reggio inspired teachers must think outside the box; see possibility in all materials; challenge themselves to be researchers; negotiators; to be reflective; introspective; to be prepared for the day;
to live in the moment with the children; to form meaningful relationships with children and co teachers based on a genuine commitment to the process of inquiry; to be respectful of the environment.
Perhaps, most of all, she must see her career, not as a job, but as an extension of life.

Only then will the truest nature of Reggio be made visible!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Welcome to a New School Year

Welcome to a new school year at Reggio Kids. It has been a very busy summer for us as we merged one of our schools. That however did not stave the flow of wonderful work. We look forward to sharing our many experiences with you as we move in new and exciting directions.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Questions take us on Great Adventures

To question is to ask, to wonder, to ponder on possibilities. Questions open the door to the unknown and take us on great adventures. Each time a child asks a question we are moved in new directions; we seek new possibilities and make great discoveries. What would life be without questions? All that which man creates and discovers begins with a need to know the unknown. 

A dandelion, is it a flower or a weed?
The children think that all vegetation bearing a colorful top is a flower.
Once the flower is removed from the stem then it is simply a stick!
When the dandelion transforms and the yellow flower turns willowy white is it then still a flower?
The children believe it is still a flower as it bears white petals.
Can the children's thinking be changed with repeated experiences or do we leave them to believe that the dandelion is indeed a beautiful flower?

“Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.” 
― Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being

Friday, May 1, 2015

Teachers & Loose Parts

Why do some groups of children work so proficiently with loose parts while others show no interest?
The environments are equally enriched with them, so what then is the problem?
The fault, for lack of better word, may be with the teachers, who are either intimidated by them or have no interest in expanding their thinking.
I have always supported the fact that teachers must be the first explorers of loose parts. 
They must be willing to engage, construct, and see the many possibilities they offer.
This does not mean they should do the work for the children. It does however lend itself to the thought that teachers, who are comfortable with loose parts, may then provide provocations for their use.
Just a thought....

The Awesome Big Blue Crystal Castle

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sometimes a Voice is Added When the Work is Done

We often wonder what children think when they begin to assemble these types of "structures". I use that word for lack of a better one. I've come to know that children don't always have a plan and many, if not most times, things happen serendipitously. These types of experiences are full of leaning opportunities. As teachers we should always be observing, listening and when the moment is right, engaging. This clever group of three year old children began this structure with no particular design in mind. The teacher perhaps did have a thought in placing the materials in use close to the window. The sunlight was her accomplice!
As the light beamed through the window and through the translucent materials colorful shadows were cast onto the floor. 
The children noticed the colors and 
 dubbed their structure,  "The Rainbow Tower!"  

Alonso, "The sun made the rainbow."
Phoebe pointed to her tower, “This is a rainbow tower because it has lots of colors like the rainbow”.
Johnny responded, “There was a rainbow in my backyard and after it rained the rainbow came through the sky”.
The Teacher asked, "How many colors does the rainbow have?"
Johnny answered, "There are five. Look at my hand, I have five fingers so there are five colors in the rainbow. We can check on the internet." (a frequently used tool in the classroom)
After researching Johnny concluded that there are seven colors in a rainbow.