The Language of Silliness

Treating children with respect is one of the most fundamental aspects of teaching in the Reggio Way.  While it manifests itself in all kinds of different ways, often times the simplest way to convey respect to children is by really listening to what they say, and also acknowledging that what they say is often exactly... Continue Reading →

Country School, City School

Months and months ago, a fellow educator and advocate for outdoor play in Tennessee sent me a few ideas for blog posts.  As I am wont to do, I hemmed and hawed over them for a long time, trying to find a way to organize them in my mind. With one of her prompts, she... Continue Reading →

The Knowledge Standing Beside You

To me, working in the Reggio Way is all about a sense of community.  Students learning in a Reggio-inspired classroom need to feel like they belong there, almost like the environment is a second home for them.  They need to feel respected, free to express themselves, and safe to take risks and make mistakes.  But... Continue Reading →

Risk and the Reggio Way

In the United States, we have a tendency to treat "risk" and "safety" as antonyms.  Somewhere along the way, educators, administrators, and legislators all agreed that the fastest and most effective way to keep children safe was to eliminate danger from their school environments.  My public education was rife with pea gravel, safety scissors, glue... Continue Reading →

A Case for Migratory Materials

Most preschool classrooms have "centers," and ours is no exception.  In our inside space, we have an area for pretend play, an area for art, an area for reading and literacy exploration, an area for science, and an area for engineering, physics, and construction.  We do our best to make sure that each of these... Continue Reading →

Emergent Curriculum: The Art of Letting Go

It isn't hard to imagine how Emergent Curriculum and the Reggio Way might go hand-in-hand.  Letting students determine what they learn helps them feel empowered to direct the course of their own learning.  It often confuses me that there aren't more schools out there that just bluntly ask students what they want to learn about. ... Continue Reading →

Organic Math: Part II

Rote learning works for some students, but it isn't for everybody.  More traditional methods of teaching mathematics can sometimes be too abstract for some students, which leads to the ubiquitous belief that they are "bad at math."  Because each student engages with mathematics a little bit differently, it makes sense to investigate mathematics in a... Continue Reading →

Round and Round

Reggio educators often talk about defining learning in terms of a journey instead of assessing it based on the achievement of a predetermined goal.  And while it sounds like a noble pursuit, process-focused teaching methods can sometimes cause tremendous discomfort for teachers (myself included).  Determining the efficacy of our teaching methods without a determinant start... Continue Reading →

In Favor of Color

There is a wealth of powerful scientific data that points to the fact that children learn better in environments that are not highly decorated.  Particularly for Reggio educators, there has been a large push-back against the brightly colored, plastic furniture and learning materials that were so common when I was a child. In general, I... Continue Reading →

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