October 26-28 I attended a Reggio Emilia conference in Denver, CO. I work in a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool and attended the conference to visit a well-established Reggio inspired school in Boulder, CO and an exhibit. (For anyone unfamiliar with the Reggio Emilia approach, the idea comes from the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Much of the approach focuses on “The Hundred Languages of Children” or the many ways children can express thoughts and ideas and explore their world. Marjorie helped me make the connection between Dyson’s work with multi-modal literacies and The Hundred Languages of Children. If you are interested in more info on the Reggio approach, I have a couple of great books.)
The exhibit I visited, “The Wonder of Learning-The Hundred Languages of Children,” was made in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and began its touring of the US in Boulder, CO, early in the summer. The exhibit documents several inspiring projects completed by children in Reggio schools. As I looked at each project, I really began to connect much of what we have read and spoken about in class to the Reggio approach. Each project included many modes of learning. For example, one portion of the exhibit documented children’s exploration of sound. The children noticed sounds their shoes were making as they went down a stairwell. The children described the sounds to the teachers. Then, the children drew the sounds they heard as their friends went down the stairs. The children then recorded the sounds made by their shoes. They downloaded the recorded sounds to computers and composed a piece with all their recordings. It was amazing to me that what started as a simple task of going down stairs, generated interest and many different ways to explore sound.
Another portion of the exhibit documented one group of children’s writing. The exhibit showed several papers with one letter written on each. Each letter was written in a different way (size, shape, color, and font were all different). Next to each letter was a description of what the child said after writing the letter. For example, one paper had a fancy looking ‘A’ with a scrolling base and gold and silver dots forming the letter. The description next to it read, “It’s an ‘A’ in a wedding dress getting married.” Another paper had one very tiny ‘s’ written in the center of a paper. The description next to it read, “It’s a shy ‘s.'” As a pre-k teacher, it was amazing to me the stories and thought that went into the formation of the letters.