Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reggio Emilia Lesson

From what I gather, Reggio Emilia style teaching seems to be about children exploring and experimenting with things that interest them. Adults provide materials, media, and general direction as needed, but the children take the ideas where they want.

Since what I know about Reggio Emilia has been through reading on my own, Camp Creek Blog has been a godsend. The blogger, Lori, explains many aspects of Reggio Emilia style of teaching and offers up help. My preschool lesson this week was my interpretation of an idea she presented.

When my preschoolers came in this week, I gave them no specific instruction. There were branches full of brightly colored leaves, paint palettes, brushes and paper on the tables. The children were directed to the tables and told that they could use the supplies as they wanted.

Most children started by experimenting with the brushstrokes they have used before. As soon as they started using their second colors, many expressed excitedly that the colors were changing to new ones.

Some worked on filling up the paper.

This child observed the leaves and was inspired to paint a tree.

This little girl tentatively decided to paint on a leaf.

As other children caught on, they began painting leaves as well. Some began printing them.

This child printed her leaf on the painted tree branches.

Children were excited to discover seeds on the branches.

They were intently focused as they began painting entire branches.

I was fascinated at how cooperatively they worked together. Many of the students in this class speak English minimally, and my guess is that at least 80% of them speak a different language at home.

Since art is a language unto itself, the children could understand what each other was doing without understanding each other's words.

Their classroom teacher was fascinated with how intently the children were working on this lesson. Excitedly, she said that she was going to expand on the exploration with paint and branches in her classroom.

During this lesson, the children experimented with color mixing, printmaking, mark making and working three dimensionally. They explored leaf colors; tree seeds; and how branches, seeds and leaves are connected together. So, through the experience the children integrated art and science.

Debriefing at the end of the lesson is difficult with this group because of time constraints ( it is a 30 minute class) and language barriers. Once clean up begins the focus disapates away from the experience and the moment seems lost. I'm not sure how to tie up the lesson after this. Do I need to tie things up as a group or is talking individually to the children as they are working the same thing?

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