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Imagination and Learning

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In today’s newsletter I would like to reprint for you a very insightful poem called “The Hundred Languages of Children.” It comes from the Reggio Emilia philosophy, an inspiring approach to Early Childhood Education that comes from Italy. At the core of this Reggio Emilia philosophy is a belief that children are full of curiosity and creativity, ready to explore the world with a sense of wonder and awe. Children thrive in environments where there is a life long passion for learning and exploration, and the child is seen as a competent and active participant in their  own learning. This poem, written by the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach, Loris Maluguzzi, conveys the important roles imagination and discovery play in a child’s learning.
 The Hundred Languages of Children
The child is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred.
Always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.
And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.
-Loris Malaguzzi
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach
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So, what has been going on the classrooms at Peacock this past week?
In our Infant Room our babies are growing up. It was announced just the other day that our once tiny babies are preparing for the waddler room. Yes, this happens, they do that these precious tiny ones, get ready to crawl away, down the hall where learning takes on so many dimensions…
In our Toddler Room the highlight of the week was making gak, which they did with shaving cream and corn starch. It made a putty like medium that was wonderful and squishy and gooey and did all kinds of things in their little toddler hands. The children also made water color stamps. As you can see from the picture, the toddlers made adorable ladybugs that are now hanging on the wall outside the toddler classroom. The children have been loving books about sounds, and their favorite this week was “Noisy Kisses” that they wanted the teachers to read over and over.  A good book never gets old… “If you’re happy and you know it” was the favorite song of the week.
In our Green Room the children read the Dr Seuss book “McElligots Pool” and then they made a wall illustration complete with home made fishes and water for them to swim in. They made rocket ships launchers with Styrofoam and they pounded and pounded to get it just right. binocularsA highlight of the week was making their own binoculars, which they put to use outside in the upper yard. Along with magnifying glasses, they looked and examined everything. Some of the binoculars got strapped to their backs and they carried them around very seriously as explorers would naturally do. We discovered a huge ant colony that became a  source of amazing excitement and fascination. The rule was no killing or hurting ants; we were there to watch them work and do what they do. One child announced that he was able to look at the ants’ faces and he noticed that they had serious faces because they were working so hard.
In our Blue Room, the children have been practicing many prekindergarten skills and have been showing such amazing competence in so many areas. They worked on construction projects with blocks and other buildable materials and they talked about and worked on the structural integrity of their design. They also made observational drawings, and created scenes from movies they knew.  They created adorable giraffes, complete with multi-faceted faces and stripes, each giraffe different from the next. They took salad spinners and made spin art, made popular in the 1970’s and definitely still alive and well. One teacher was out ill for  few days, and the children took great care in making her lovely get well cards and posters.  The children continue to love to hear and talk about owls and baby animals of all kinds, and they also talked about the sun and the world. They are practicing writing their letters each day, and for a glorious sensory experience, they got to put their hands in shaving cream and muck around for awhile.
So that, dear families is our week. I do hope that all of you have very pleasant weekends.
 

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