About me

Monday, 30 July 2012

What is a project?

A project can be initiated by the teachers or the children
A project may start from 'requirements' i.e. everybody is studying the Olympics
A project may start with the seed of an idea or provocation

A project may involve just a group of children or the whole class
A project may be connected to other things
A project may start and be heading in a certain direction and then go off on other tangents
Sometimes you may not know where a project is going - this a good thing!

A project will have a big idea or concept behind it
A project caters for different levels and abilities
A project should spark more questions, more inquiry, more research
A project evolves and grows
A project will be open ended

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Where to start? Tinkering and Tweaking

The way I began tinkering and tweaking my practice to align more with the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and learning, was to look at our inquiry topic for the term.

Is there another way?

An example of how I thought about our inquiry topic:

Our team had chosen "space - planet earth and beyond" for all the classes to study for the term. I decided that instead of presenting the children with the topic of "space", I would go from a concept base. The concept I thought would work well was 'change' and from there I presented the children with the question "What changes can we see around us?"

The children came up with many ideas such as losing baby teeth (they were 5 and 6 years old). They also noticed the seasonal change outside - it was autumn. They also noticed the change of day and night. Over the term we explored these three aspects of change. I met all of the curriculum requirements just like every other teacher in the team, however my investigations were child led, concept based, thought provoking, based on the childern's interests and were my first tentative steps in embracing the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and learning.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Aesthetics of the Learning Environment

In Reggio Emilia the environment is seen as the third teacher. My interpretation of this is to look at how spaces can be organised to inspire and engage children in learning. How am I setting up learning experiences for the children? How are materials or resources organised? What is available and accessible for the children? What do we value as a learning community and how is this portrayed in our space? I believe it is important to purposefully design the learning environment.

One of the first ways I changed the organisation of materials in my class was to organise my art materials by colour. I sorted all of the coloured pencils and felt pens into containers based on their colour. It makes accessing the materials easier for the children, as does keeping it tidy, but it also inspires them to see all of the shades of red or yellow. This way of organising art materials also enables the children to carefully think about what colours they want to use in their work.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

What is Reggio Emilia? Part 2

The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and learning is interpreted by teachers in their own contex, working within the framework of their culture, values, environment and National curriculum.

Becaues this approach is interpreted within a framework, there are no templates or formula. This is the challenge for us as teachers because we are not waiting for someone else to figure it out and tell us what to do. The challenge is for us to interpretate this philosophy. There is no destination that you will arrive at that says "You are now Reggio". This is a journey. I am challenged on a daily basis as I am inspired to align my knowledge of the principles of Reggio Emilia with my classroom practice.

Monday, 16 July 2012

What is Reggio Emilia? Part 1

The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and learning is an educational philosophy founded in the Italian province of Reggio Emilia. Reggio Emilia is not a pre-set curriculum, rather it is a process of inviting and sustaining learning; it is a philosophical approach to working with children. The key principles of this approach are:

  • The image of the child
  • The image of the teacher
  • The pedagogy of relationships
  • The learning environment
  • The pedagogy of documentation - making learning visible
  • Provocations, investigations and projects