Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Visiting Reggio Inspired K &1 Class! (Pictures - Part 1)

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at Brentwood Park Elementary School in Burnaby where a group of K-1 teachers and libarians have started a pilot project where Reggio Emilia philosophy of learning into their classrooms.

If you don't know what Reggio Emilia is, they recently had a traveling exhibition at New Westminster's River Market last year and I also had the opportunity to attend the workshop. I took some pictures and will upload them in another blog post.

I am fascinated by their philosophy of teaching but I have never visited a Reggio Emilia inspired classroom before so this opportunity to do was very special to me.

I was very amazed by how one grade 1 teacher and her EA transformed their classroom. Every space used had meaning and the children were superbly confident and at ease. When I first stepped into the classroom, I was immediately approached by a little boy named N and he was incredibly out-going and sweet. He showed me how to make a penguin and introduced me to the luminescent room which was so neat! I felt like I was in a different place as it was lit with children's artwork such as paintings and jellyfishes. Then I was approached by another child named J who introduced me to the documentation process of their learning which was displayed across their wall. It was really interesting to hear about J talk about what they did in class and what they were learning. I was also introduced to the 'Wonder Wall' which were a series of questions posed by the students in the class. Definitely a lot of inquiry-based learning was going on which is why I am quite attracted to this philosophy of learning.

Anyways, it was amazing to finally see a Reggio inspired classroom and I came out of it truly inspired. The grade 1 teacher told us that her student's negative behaviours diminished because the students' voices were heard and acknowledged more. Reggio inspired teachers really emphasize on listening to their students and following what they are interested in. That is truly amazing!

In my opinion, I feel this progressive approach which really is like inquiry-based learning is what is needed in education along with mindfulness education. Children have a lot to contribute to this world and allowing them to have exploration time as oppose to the traditional centres is a great way to encourage their curiosity and imagination. Looking things in different ways and experiencing while learning is important! You would be surprised but there is actually a lot of technological tools used as well as natural resources. It's an amalgamation of of all senses and more!

I would love to visit the city of Reggio Emilia in Italy one day! Time to start saving money and making it happen! I am truly inspired and on my way to learning more each of how children learn and can contribute to the world.

Here are some pictures for your curiosity. Thank you to the teachers and school for showing us and inviting us into your classrooms!

Grade 1 students write questions for us teachers to ask them about... 
I've seen these done on Pinterest! But very neat to see them done in real life. Love the ideas of using natural materials.

Kindergarten version of the above!

The 'Bioluminescence' room... love the use of space and this child was super enthusiastic to share what he's learned!

Documentation of them being at the aquarium!
Showing us how to make animal shapes!

Another part of the wall where inquiry questions are asked and answered  by the children as their learning progresses on the topic! They are learning about sea creatures. 

Love the idea!
On a side note: In this classroom, the teacher's desk was placed in the center and the student's desks all curved around the teacher. She told me she found it the most helpful in connecting with the students! Experimentation in the process is key!

Use of space in the classroom... there was so much to look at!

Raw Earthy Materials for the Children to use and explore with!

I loved this station! To help children with their writing, they are encouraged to write 'How to' books!

I love their ideas... they have their own library!

Again, lots of materials and every space of the classroom has a purpose!

Here's a picture of the classroom. As you can see, the teacher's desk is not in the corner but near the middle! The draping above creates a more earthy feel! It certainly changes your mood as oppose to it being without!

In the kindergarten classroom, some shelving ideas.
Kindergarten children during their playtime! 

This is the kindergarten classroom which is also beginning to be Reggio inspired! 

The light room area for more exploration of objects and their properties! Documentation next to the wall reminds children of what they have discovered. 

They're learning about butterflies!
Using a stick to create an image... using their imagination with raw materials.

Love this artwork!

I just thought it was a neat idea to keep your young student's notes and artworks!

Some math counting books...
Stay tuned for Part 2 - more pictures!

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