Back to School night was yesterday and I could not sleep afterwards from excitement and all the ideas buzzing through my head... and the sugar in my blood too I suppose since lots of treats were served. It was so great to spend some time in the space that Sabrina inhabits three days a week. I could see little things she has mentioned about the school and learn more about how her days are spent. Here are some things from the evening that really make me happy:
*The parents in our classroom decided to take turns making sure the classroom always has fresh flowers, so we'll be bringing flowers once a week. When possible we've said the children would be involved in picking or selecting the flowers so they can take pride in contributing to the beauty of the room.
*The school provides snack (it often ties in to stuff they are learning), but we also will take turns bringing a snack once a week. We agreed it has to have input from the child, so a baking project, or something the child helped assemble. Again, we want it to be something the child can talk about and feel proud of.
*The school has a dedicated art studio or "atelier," in Reggio Emilia speak, that is chock full of fabulous materials. The art teacher takes children in just a few at a time so she can really guide them in exploring techniques. You should see some of the stuff these three- and four- year-olds make. The art teacher talked about how she tells the children to have "courage" when they are creating art. Wonderful and inspiring advice.
*The hallways and classrooms are covered in the children's art, self-portraits, collages, mobiles. It's magical.
*One of the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach is documenting the children's art, activities, play and work so as to validate their acts and interests and to communicate with parents. The teachers photograph the children and put the pictures all over the room the very next day. They put the pictures up where the activity took place so next to the blocks are pictures of the children building with blocks, in the reading nook are photos of the children reading etc.