the art of stacking

boxes and number blocks used for stacking.

Materials for STACKING and engaging young children.

flat stack of rectangle blocks.

different size and shaped blocks, stacked in a tower design.
group work to create this balanced tower of alphabet boxes.

snap blocks stacked high, with extra at base for balance.

classic materials for young child to restack, restack, restack.

wood blocks stacked for this dinosaur look-out tower!

tree parts to stack and stack with larger base at bottom.

Different ways to think about size, color, balance.

Different ways to think.

complex stacking, balancing, stacking.
varied materials for stacking and designing - visual interest and whimsy.
magnetic stacks, piece by piece, part by part, higher and higher.
cones, cube blocks, and tubes are stacked as two boys continue their play.

Different ways to think about working alone, with a friend or with a group.

Different ways to think about quantity, geometry, symmetry.
cube blocks stacked in a complex tower on a mirrored base.
kapla blocks stacked in four tall stacks, with bears atop.
magnets stacked to stay together in one line.

patterns, colors, shapes and sizes all in one game.

this kind of stacking is no accident - wow.

hmmm, stacking curved items within themselves? impressive.
 stacks, stacks, stacks.

virtual trip to reggio

(this post is dedicated to my friend Pam and colleagues from her school who are on the dream journey to visit the Reggio Schools right now - these exact days right now - amazing)

a boy in florence who dances amid the piazza puppets.

*note: most all of these photos are mine from a previous trip to Italy. a few are directly from Pam's RE trip and are credited as such in the caption.

Many early childhood educators have been inspired by the pedagogy of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The competent image of the child, the documentation of short-and long-term studies, the collaboration between teachers and families, the uplifting of rights of all who enter the schools - families, children and teachers.

lions are everywhere throughout italy, like this one Rome.

To learn about the schools - the ideas and ideals of the schools, the environment as beautiful and child accessible, the materials that provoke thinking and inventing - is to learn how to be a different kind of teacher.
simple things can be so beautiful.

To learn about the schools and embrace the message changes who YOU are in your own school. Take the journey, read, read, read, and visit schools (local and far).
Start making changes that make sense to you and your school to allow for beauty, time and natural materials to be gifts to the young children in your care. 
Check out:
North America Reggio Emilia Alliance
Reggio Children
Innovative Teacher Project

birdcage on the outside window lovely.

colors amid incredible architecture.

Some colleagues of mine are THERE RIGHT NOW. They are in Reggio, studying and exploring and discussing and - ok - probably sharing a few bottles of wine! (refer to NAREA link above for details of their specific trip with the Canadien Study Group).

lion in venice.
This is my virtual trip to Reggio as I am following my colleagues on their journey, following their posts on FB or Twitter or via email.

stunning lion in florence.
I am virtually there as I think of my past visit to Italy - not Reggio, but other cities north and south of Italy - and the incredible architecture, history and beauty of the cities.

details of this lion in venice are incredible.
I am virtually there as I reflect on my own practice with children, my role as facilitator, the materials I offer to children, the time I ensure that children have to explore daily.

photo from colleague Pam in Reggio Emila!

photo from Pam: cobbled street in Reggio... PEACE.

my colleague Pam and her new lion friend in Reggio.
what direction will you take as a teacher? how do YOU want to spend your days?

What a treasure to have colleagues on a remarkable journey that they will, in turn, share and inspire those of us (ME, ME, ME!) who couldn't make the trip

Two highly recommended books, yet there are so many fabulous ones:
1. The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach Advanced Reflections, 2nd Ed. 1998. (Edwards, Gandini, Forman).
2. Making Learning Visible: Children as Individual and Group Learners. 2001. (Project Zero, Reggio Children).

Take your OWN journey...
the children are worth it.

egg collector project

three straps with side collection tray Egg Collector...just add fluff.
We had a tradition 
in my 4s/5s class the last few years that I was at the particular school which was church affiliated. We began doing a mini-project around spring/easter to "study baskets and anything that carries something else" (backpacks, toolboxes, purses, snackbags and on and on).
tall, bent handle with pocket side collection area for Eggs!

* We made lists of different "collectors" from around the classroom and ones we could think of together.

individual basket makers at work...!
one strap with zipper-style cuts on the side...double strap with front extra egg tray!

triple handle in one direction, one handle in the other direction!

* We made lists of different attributes of different collectors - strap handle, double handle, shoulder straps, zippers, flaps, thin, wide, deep, double storage, long storage, low storage, soft, hard, bendable.

* We collected recyclables to begin planning our own Egg Collector to use for our Egg Hunt.

* We examined the recyclable and materials we collected.

* We drew plans for our individual Egg Collector.
"would you like to add anything here?..."
wide single strap plus movable side collector...ready for the hunt!

criss-cross handles, zipper side cuts...lost of room for Eggs!
"Maybe I would like":
...a low basket with three handles. use a long tube to stack my eggs inside and a have one long rope handle. use cardboard to build my own basket shape, then add a "side collector" for extra eggs (just in case!).
...criss-cross handles. decorate my Egg Collector with polka-dot paint...or stripes...or all purple!

straps over the basket, handles on the side, and a side tray!
large green handle with polka dots!

When we put our baskets to work, it was so exciting! There is something so fabulous and rewarding and "wow" when we are contributors to our own adventure: there is something so fabulous when WE are the creators, WE are the inventors, and WE make our ideas come to life (even in a basket!).
Of course, this really is no secret.
Off we went on The Hunt...
holding our Egg Collectors securely AND  trying to scout for eggs before we hear "Hunt!"
The cheery smile is a good indicator that her Egg Collector really worked.
the double tray really worked well for this collector!
Egg Collector full of eggs in both trays with the fluff underneath.
Exploring our collection of treasures inside the eggs!
"Look what I got!!"..."What did you get?"
Egg Collector Group Celebration!

“This post is part of the Teach/Learn Carnival, April’s theme is Easter.  If you would like to join in submit your own post here, or check back at just before Easter for the links to lots of great posts.”

I SPY moments

balance, balance, balance.

Do you ever wonder what a child is thinking when they are in their own private world of playing or inventing?

1,2,3...7...numbers, bowls, space on the carpet.

I am amazed when the camera can freeze the experience and help me examine the intensity or quietness of a child's individual work.

how does this apple peeler work...?
watching the water pot fill with blue water...drip, drip, drip.

practice, practice...this cartwheel is tricky!

truck and shovel and wet sand...something might get buried?

the joy of big big shoes...!

a fresh drink for the alligator...pouring so carefully !

maybe a calendar? maybe a countdown? maybe a birthday coming?
starting with two very tall blocks...steady, steady hands.

quiet moment to water paint the outside play surface.

hmm...maybe I will go in here...

I think I would like to sit inside a hula hoop and swirl these twirlers around and around.

pink sparkle dress and straw hat...and a look in the mirror.

ready to have my own theater performance with my newly made puppet.

I hope you can uncover moments at school of children working, inventing, and re-inventing their their own beautiful extraordinary way.