‘Environment as the Third Teacher’ has become a common mantra in the early years community. As it has, beautiful classrooms, displays and carefully arranged invitations at centres have proliferated. Yet, is it all really necessary? What if we don’t have the money? or time? What is the intent behind it all?
Considering the environment as a third teacher has allowed us to think about the importance of the the environment in early years learning programs and that is crucial. There is no doubt that our surroundings have an impact on us and that in early years settings, they are of primary importance.
If, however, we want our environments to have impact, then it must be about more than decorating, collecting materials and following the latest Pinterest trend. We have to consider the intention and rationale of what we are doing.
Why are we doing what we are doing? How is what we are doing helping to promote and honour student learning?
Continue reading “Do I Really Need to Create an Aesthetically Pleasing Environment That Could be on the Pages of a Home Magazine?”
What does it mean to belong? This was my educator wonder at the beginning of this year. How can children learn from and with each other to establish positive classroom culture? How do their actions and interactions create the learning community and develop a sense of belonging amongst those within? How could documentation serve as a pedagogical tool to support this?
Continue reading “How Can Documentation Support a Sense of Belonging?”
Vivian Gussin Paley offers us another way to value the storytelling lives of children – by honouring the stories they create in their play.
Young children are continually creating pretend stories. What Paley promotes is the value of honouring those stories. These stories of play are literacy at it’s finest – authors building on what they know to create and develop stories and plots, adding imagination and creativity and emotion, developing roles and creating sets and props.
Continue reading “How Can We Value the Storytelling Lives of Developing Authors – Part 2”
What would happen if we expanded our definition of early literacy to include and honour the stories children tell through their playful exploration of the materials around them? What opportunities, growth and potential for developing creativity would occur if we allowed for the idea in our classrooms that literacy – in particular writing – begins with and flows from the storytelling lives of the children? Continue reading “How Can We Value the Storytelling Lives of Developing Authors – Part 1”
While the beauty of the environments of the preschools of Reggio Emilia is renowned, and while the importance of environment is a critical component of the philosophy, the educational philosophy of Reggio Emilia preschool educators is about so much more than the aesthetic beauty of their environments. Many of us have been attracted to the aesthetics and seek to implement this idea in our programs, yet as I addressed in a previous post, to focus merely on surface belies the import and potential impact of the Reggio approach.
For me personally, it is the profound attention to and respect for the development of thought in young children that is the power of the Reggio philosophy.
Children learn by doing but also by reflecting on what they are doing. They go forward and pause, stop, go backwards. This all takes place in exchange with others…the process is never linear or made up of a predetermined sequence…[We need] not to understand what they have learned but how they have learned it, not the product but rather the process, the construction of knowledge with other children and how they learn to learn.
The Educators of Reggio Emilia, Canadian Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, April 2011
Continue reading “Will Adding Baskets to my Classroom Make me Reggio Inspired?”