Every child is a unique individual and they need us as teachers to see them, hear them, understand their motivations. They need us to be fully present with our hearts and minds. All behavior has meaning and our job is to look beyond the surface. As a small program we have the privilege of giving children time and surround them with joy and laughter.
Our project work emerges through our experiences, children’s interests and the flow of the seasons. This is the art of teaching at work. We do a dance together with the children to co-create our path of learning and understanding the world. In the process we focus on children’s social and emotional development, the key work in early childhood education. Self-regulation and self-sufficiency are worked on individually and together as a group using empathy, listening, modeling, creativity and always being reflective.
The beauty of the Reggio Approach is how we are able to weave all learning areas into our project work. It becomes a wonderful rich tapestry of connections that expand from the critical and creative thinkers the children are becoming.
Puff the Magic Dragon is a classic favorite. A tale of friendship and longing, mystique and sadness of someone you have loved and lost. Then, the joy of learning that life keeps moving forward and new friends, new teachers, new schools, new seasons, new beginnings come again. The children get very quiet while listening to the song and story over and over again.
One day Frankie asked, “Where IS the Land of Honalee”. They took the globe off the shelf and began to investigate. Their research, ideas and discussions opened up the world of geography, climates, land vs water, islands vs continents. This is the point where arts integration enters the children’s project work to make their understandings visible.