respecting children's learning


ZEBRA by PAPER MACHE AND RECYCLABLES.
Most of you know I am a dedicated constructivist educator. I believe in ensuring that children have the time and materials to investigate, explore, problem solve and invent. I truly believe it is a child's right to have - not to be given, but to have - the time and materials to make meaning of their world.

I had the privilege of visiting my colleague Pam's school in Marin, California. Stretch the Imagination offers a "Reggio inspired" program for 3-5s that is filled with discussion, exploration, natural materials, and field experiences to local [incredible] venues for research by the children. Click here to read more about Stretch and founder Michelle Lawton.
I attended an evening event held by the school where teachers were presenting to parents their interpretations regarding their class's discoveries and growth for the year. The presentations were not recounting the calendar experiences of the children. The presentations were an overarching, deeper and wider perspective on the children as a class group from more of a teacher-researcher lens. 
[huge side note: I strongly believe that these are the teachers that should become leaders in our field because Respecting Children's Learning should be modeled, modeled, modeled, exactly as they have done.]

I bring a few photos to afford you a peek into the classroom's documentation and the stunning work by the children. In the classroom, all the children are represented, yet not all the children are represented in every project. This concept allows for a room to breathe, and it allows for educators to be intentional in what they choose to document or display to uplift the overall learning that occurred.

Cheers to the teachers' efforts. Bravo to the children's words and works.
The following images travel from
Self to Artist,
from Words to Photo Memory to Sculpture,
from Sensory to Still Life.


SELF PORTRAIT
THIS IS ME.
THE WORK OF FRIDA KAHLO.

BLACK & WHITE.

HAVE YOU EVER DONE A SELF-PORTRAIT? What colors would YOU use?
COLLAGE WORK with WORDS.

HAPPINESS.

MOON.
ART GALLERY PHOTO MEMORIES.

BOBCAT from PHOTO to BLACK PEN to WATERCOLORS.




































PAINTING MOVEMENT OF A WAVE. STUNNING GORGEOUS.



































DETAILS OF A TREE OWL. FASCINATING.






















































































BIRD HOUSE.
ELEPHANT by PAPER MACHE AND RECYCLABLES

SHARK by PAPER MACHE AND RECYCLABLES











Sculpture
Work.

"Sculpture has been a large part of our artistic endeavor, both at the Audubon Center with natural materials and in the classroom with found objects."








































































SENSORY EXPLORATIONS represented in PAINT.



STILL LIFE with an EYE FOR COLOR.
BEGINNING ART APPRECIATION WITH YOUNG CHILDREN.


Take yourself to another school.
Bring a fresh teacher lens to really SEE the learning that teachers make visible.

Look UP, look low, yet especially, look INTENTIONALLY for the children to be the most vital part of the school.

Thanks to Pam and Michelle for inviting me for such a rich visit to a true school for children.

7 comments:

  1. Fabulous post Jeanne! It's always exciting to see what we believe in action! I'm just curious if the teachers were able to share the process they used to inspire the children and capture each child's journey.

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    Replies
    1. Hello! Yes, the teachers had shared the children's process of these separate in-depth projects during other times of the year. This particular evening had a focus from the teacher lens which made connections between the projects and the evolution of social function and complexity of work by the children over the course of the entire school year.

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  2. I like the "smooth" painting, it looks like an earth.. heaven.. whatever.. it's beautiful! Well, my son and I used to paint colorful buttercream frosting onto sugar cookies for Christmas. They looked, and tasted, great and it was a fun project to do together :)

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    Replies
    1. Andrea - I agree, the "smooth" sensory paintings were lovely! Interesting way for 3s to explore texture and represent it on another surface. I like YOUR idea of exploring fully the qualities of buttercream frosting - gotta taste it for sure :)

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  3. I so want to be this teacher, but I feel like I need to be mentored or something. Does anyone know of any resources in the Denver area?

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    Replies
    1. Not sure how far Boulder is from Denver, but you couldn't do better than boulder journey school. They have a masters program through Univ of Colorado or whatever the university is called there.

      Mentoring happens best in a side by side teaching scenario, I think. You have to live it, and hear how intentional teachers listen and respond to the children in their care. Your image of the child will define what that looks like for you.
      The teachers' ability to make the children's learning visible developed through generous time given for reflection and collaboration each week, a desire for continued learning, and an openness for critique, from the self as well as others. It's a beautiful journey.

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    2. Anonymous - I agree with Pam's comments! I would add that depending on where you work now, you can start reading 'project method'. 'Reggio' related content and 'intentional teaching' resources. Reading blogs, of course, are a great way to start :) Looks like in the Denver area, possible schools for inspiration would be Larks Preschool, and a new Open Air Academy in downtown, and Children's Center at Red Rocks (I know this is outside Denver). Cheers!

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Please share your ideas, comments and feedback! Thanks!