By Sharon Sloat
I first learned about Reggio-inspired classrooms after my administrator returned from Reggio Emelia, Italy, with a renewed passion for learning. At the time, I was teaching in an elementary school in Medicine Hat that offered programming for pre-K to Grade 4. Being a small school where collaboration occurred frequently, we were all intrigued by Reggio education and excited to embrace it. Thus began the process of incorporating the Reggio philosophy into our classrooms.
Reggio education developed in Reggio Emelia, Italy, after World War ll. The town was in shambles and had to rebuild. Parents came together and decided the best way to prepare for the future was to invest time and money into their children’s education. They wanted stimulating programs where spontaneity and emergent curriculum were accepted. A new style of teaching and learning transpired, and since then Reggio pedagogy has received world-wide recognition.
A Reggio program is intense, layered and multi-faceted and cannot be given justice in this piece. I suggest reading the many on-line articles that are available. Being the all- encompassing program it is, one of the easiest steps to developing a Reggio- inspired classroom is to first start with the classroom environment. Reggio environments are distinct. They are uncluttered and open, have a neutral colour palette, and utilize natural and loose objects for learning. The environment is considered a third teacher and is presented with beauty and order. Different types of lighting besides natural lighting is incorporated such as, ambient, task, accent and magical lighting. Focus in the classroom is on children’s creations and documentation demonstrating their learning. Some of the questions to consider when organizing the classroom space are:
Do you provide real and authentic materials?
Do you have space for collaborative work? Are there open spaces for children to work together?
Are the areas of your centers built with beauty and order?
Do you have clearly defined areas in your learning space?
Do you have varied materials for children to express their ideas?
Is children’s work displayed in a beautiful way?
Is documentation visible in your learning space?
Are families visible in the room – photos, contributions, etc?
This is only the tip of the iceberg. If you would like to learn more, please join us at any of our monthly Reggio Collaborative meetings. We discuss topics addressing environment, documentation and provocations, and continue the journey of discovery. The next meeting will be held at St. Mary’s School on Tuesday, April 21st. Please watch for specific details through the district e-mail.
PHRD had its last all-school PD day of the 2014-2015 school year last Friday, and what a great day it was! I am continually impressed by the wonderful work that is being done in classrooms throughout the division.
However, it is a little disheartening (while at the same time totally awesome) to acknowledge that what is publicly celebrated is only a tiny representation of the work that is being done. So often we wonder, 'Why?' and perhaps part of the answer lies in the video presented on Friday morning:
During the first week of December, I had the extreme honor of attending the Curriculum Re-Design Symposium in Calgary. What an inspiring couple of days! Firstly, I was lucky enough to spend the ride back and forth to Calgary with some extremely talented and knowledgeable teaching staff from PHRD. A lot of great sharing happened along this ride. The actual symposium was a great time to share with PHRD student reps, teachers and Associate Superintendent Mark Theissen. Along with other representatives from across Alberta, the days were spent attending various workshops, with a common theme. It had a very positive vibe and an excitement for a change in our education system. A group of like-minded people took into account many different factors and came up with many great ideas that were all noted and this voice was taken into consideration. It left me with a feeling of great hope for the future of education in PHRD and Alberta. We are already doing great things in our division and after attending this symposium, I feel the future looks very bright indeed.
By Tammy Tkachuk
It’s an exciting week for PHRD teachers and teachers across north-central Alberta. Google has come to town! It’s time for Google Summit 2015.
Over the weekend, Christine, Cheryl and I had the opportunity to participate in a pre-summit, along with three staff members from Eleanor Hall School. We were put through our paces at a Google Bootcamp for Educators. Our presenter walked us through the ins and outs of Gmail, Drive, Chrome, Docs, Slides, Sites, Classroom, and more. I was blown away by some of the features in Google Maps, Docs, and Forms. We picked up a lot of tips and tricks that we’d love to share with you and your class!
Today and tomorrow, we are at the Google Summit itself at Northlands Expo Centre. Educators from across north and central Alberta are here to learn about using Google and Chromebooks in the classroom. We are lucky that representatives from most of our PHRD school will be at the Summit gathering ideas to bring back to their classrooms and schools. Please feel free to ask around, chances are that someone from your school attended the summit and I’m sure they would be willing to share what they learned with you and your kids. Christine, Cheryl and I would also be delighted to share!
Once the Summit wraps up on Tuesday, there is still an opportunity for some of our PHRD staff to attend another Bootcamp for Educators in Whitecourt on Thursday and Friday. By the end of this week, we will have Google trained teachers all throughout PHRD. Make sure you ask them to share their expertise!
This blog and resources website has been developed through the work of various AISI coaches in PHRD. The lead collaborative teachers for the 2015/2016 school year, Cheryl Frose, Christine Quong and Tammy Tkachuk will continue to update this site. If you have resources you would like to share or would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.