By documenting ordinary moments, we examined how children learn and critically reflected on our role as educators and co-researchers. How inviting different perspectives can open opportunities for innovative thinking and democratic learning with children?
Queen’s Park Elementary is located in Penticton BC, three blocks from Okanagan Lake. Last year our primary team was reflecting back on the year and began developing some “I wonders” of their own. What skills do we want our children leaving the classroom and entering the world with? What can we do differently next year? How can we promote and enhance curiosity, joy and sense of identity within an environment rich in collaboration and creative thinking? And…How can we make the learning of children more accessible and visible to parents?
As a collective we had already started place based learning with our children. As educators we are also researchers. Always working within the spiral of inquiry we are self-reflective in our approach. Our new BC curriculum has a strong emphasis on core competencies: creative thinking, critical thinking, social responsibility, and sense of identity through discovery of self and culture. We started with Louise Boyd Cadwell’s Bringing Reggio Emilia Home: An Innovative Approach to Early Childhood Education. This book launched us into yet another journey.
In an effort to strengthen our own understanding, we launched a two part series with Dr. Laurie Kocher from the University of Capilano and Kim Atkinson from the University of Victoria. The name of the project is Making Learning Visible. The conversation started by discussing aspects of the history, philosophy and educational practices of the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. The intent was an introduction to the educational philosophy of Reggio-inspired classrooms. A strong focus for us was on using pedagogical narration as a tool for thinking about learning. Through documenting ordinary moments in the classroom we examined our understandings of how children learn and critically reflect on our role as educators and co-researchers. Together we considered how inviting different perspectives into our pedagogies can open opportunities for innovative thinking and democratic learning with children.
The grant we received from the Vancouver Reggio Consortium Society greatly supported our vision of creating an Atelier at our school. Prior to the grant the children only had access to basic tempera paint, and poor quality brushes and paper. After purchasing artist grade watercolour paint, brushes and paper the children now have the opportunity explore with artistic curiosity, create with artistic intent, and recognize news skills in themselves and others.
The children and educators at Queen’s Park Elementary wish to extend a most sincere thank you to the Vancouver Reggio Consortium Society for supporting our learning and discovery.