Personal Connections inspired by Block Play!

The following is a glimpse of beautiful connections being made to family as the children use their imaginations and the materials in the classroom to re-inact some memories shared with loved ones.  The educator listened, observed and documented this very special conversation between children who were sharing personal stories together at the Construction Center.  What a wonderful experience for both the children and the educator as we continue to build community and relationships with one another.

S.C. uses the blocks to build  a seat and picks up a larger block and starts to row.

R.S.J.D:  It’s like a kayak, it has 2 points in the front and the back.  My Nana, Papa and Uncle have kayaks. They have two seats, one in the front and one in the back.

J.S.P:  Row, row, row your boat…I heard that song on a radio at my MaMere’s house.  (She proceeds to find a block to be the motor.) I found a motor for the boat.

R.S.J.D:  Kayaks don’t have motors but only paddles.

J.S.P: Boats have to have motors to make them go because my Daddy’s PaPere had a boat with a motor.

R.S.J.D: The paddles make it go.

J.S.P: But they don’t go fast, paddles are slow.

R.S.J.D: My Nana wants to be slow because her arms are so tired.

This group did not continue to explore boats together.  R.S.J.D however, moved over to the base in the construction area and built a kayak like his MaMere’s.  He made sure that the kayak had the 2 points that he had mentioned previously and he also had a paddle

 

The Benefits of Block Play…

 

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Communication inspired by Goop…

“Gooey like sticky glue.”

“It’s wobbly stuff.”

“Feels wobbly like pancakes.”

“It feels like delightful for good.”

“It’s sticky…I’m making a snake.”

“I’m going to come to this center everyday.”

“It feels good to get my hands in here…Oh that feels good.”

“It feels  great on my hands.”

“It’s like pizza dough.”

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Wow!!

Watch what happens when you allow children time and space to persevere with their own ideas…I wonder how many curriculum expectations this project covered??!!

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Exploring identity with beautiful materials in the Atelier continued…

Today, a group of children were excited to be spending time in the art studio.  We took a closer look at the photos in the book “My dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks”.  We talked about how the artist creating her family in the story used a variety of materials to tell more information about them.  So, essentially, we learned that the materials we choose to work with help us to tell our story in a more creative and interesting way.  It was amazing to watch the children in action.  First, they began examining their faces in mirrors that were placed on the table.  They were making funny faces and talking about their eyes, how their eyebrows moved and what happens when they smile.  The children thoughtfully chose materials and were very respectful of each others working space.  They were sharing and helping each other reach across the table to get something far away.  Here are a couple of their stories…

“This is my daddy.  The pieces of pine cone are bubbles.  When I have a bath, I put bubbles on his face.  These cubes are the bones in daddy’s cheeks.  Bones make him strong.  This (pointing to a blue diamond jewell), is daddy’s chin.  I chose this because he always gets picked when he shaves.” – E.B. 

“I chose these materials because I wanted to make something beautiful.  I chose yarn for my hair because it’s brown and this piece (pointing) keeps my nose round and in it’s place (squishing her nose and pointing to the creases in her face).  My chin is a bone – it’s squishy and it bounces!” – M.G.

It is evident that the children are really in tune with themselves and the people they love. They are learning who they are, where they come from and how we are different.  So what is identity?  The children will tell us.  We just need to watch and listen…

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Exploring Identity in the Atelier

As we continue to build relationships and talk about identity we decided to take our discussions into the Atelier.  Children’s creativity was provoked by the book…. 

“Look at how angry I look!”

“I used rocks for my eyes because they’re pretty like mine.  The wood pieces make my eyebrows so beautiful and if you move them you can make yourself angry.” – T.G.W.

“My nose is a rock with things in it because it looks like freckles, I have freckles on my nose.” – M.A.

“I made a round mouth that is scared of zombies at night. It was a bad dream.” – J.C. P.

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The Classroom Environment

We place enormous value on the role of the environment as a motivating and animating force in creating spaces for relations, options, and emotional and cognitive situations that produce a sense of well-being and security.

Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia Italy

The classroom environment is considered to be the child’s third teacher.  We carefully designed our classroom space to be a warm and inviting place for both children and adults. We have a beautiful room with large windows and natural light.  The children are invited to draw, sketch and paint in a very natural setting.  There are many plants and “homey” touches in the space to support a close home-school connection.  We placed mirrors in many places around the classroom so the children can look at themselves and experiment with reflection.  The materials are displayed in baskets around the room which invites the children to come and play with them.  There is a cozy round carpet in the middle of the space to gather in a large group and there are several smaller areas where children can play and meet in smaller more intimate groupings.  As the children begin to create art, their beautiful work will be documented and displayed throughout the classroom and the school.
The Welcome Table

This area of the classroom is near the front door. Parents can find information about their children and the school on the table. The picture frame is for family photos and the children are responsible for keeping their communication bags in the wicker basket.

Light Table

The children are invited to investigate with light and reflection using interesting materials.

Listening Center

The children are invited to a quiet area with a friend to listen to stories while reading along in the book.

Atelier

In the atelier, the children are invited to use a variety of colourful and textured materials. There is a display of new and recycled materials to evoke creativity from the children. Specific skills are taught on how to use different materials such as paint and clay. Famous artists will be introduced to provoke new ways of thinking about new materials. Children are encouraged to be free and use their imagination in this area of the classroom.

Library

The children are invited to read books alone or with a buddy. The WigWam is a place for children to read or participate in dramatic play.

Discovery Center

The children are invited to participate in scientific discovery. They are encouraged to bring natural materials from the outdoors to the nature table. There are scales and magnifying glasses for the children to take a closer look at some natural materials.

Math Center

The children are invited to play with a variety of materials that will provoke thinking of several mathematical concepts. They will explore counting, two and three dimensional shapes as well as problem solving.

Puzzles

The children are invited to sit with a friend and work on puzzles.

Easel

The children are invited to the easel to draw, sketch and paint anything they are inspired by in the classroom or outdoors.

Dramatic Play

Children love dramatic play. In this area of the classroom the children are invited to play in small groups. They are encouraged to use their imagination. Materials such as scarves are presented here to provoke open ended thinking about dress up.

Construction

The building center is a place of collaboration. The children will explore the properties of materials, create story lines about their structures and devise building strategies. Materials both organic and geometric will be presented at this center.

Communication

The children are invited to the world of literacy. They are exposed to letters and interesting and new materials to write with. They are excited to write familiar words, their names and their friends’ names. Each child has their own mailbox to send and receive letters. Materials such as paper, markers, envelopes, etc., are presented at this center for open ended thinking.

Educator Resources

Educator Book Shelf – Easy access to books when the children demonstrate particular interests – AND, it looks nice too!

 

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Day 1!!

Well…We all survived the first day!  It was so exciting to watch the children explore in their new classroom environment.  Everyone seemed to be very curious about some new materials and enjoyed playing in a variety of centers.  We observed children helping each other, writing their names, writing their friends’ names, drawing self portraits, building complex structures, pretending, reading books, comparing the weight of a rock versus a shell, sharing materials and working together to solve problems.  So impressive!  During a group meeting about making healthy choices, a question came up about pickles.  What is a pickle?  One little girl commented that carrots must be pickles because she cuts them up and puts them in jars like pickles…more to come on this later after further investigation!  We will continue working on classroom expectations and routines as well as building a community with both the children and their families.  We look forward to meeting the new Year 1’s for the remainder of the week!  Enjoy some snapshots of some wonderful things the children were exploring and creating today 🙂

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