I wrote a lot of words today all of it work related. I realized it might give some insight into what I do for a living and how I think about it.
To my Reggio Emilia preschool list:
I think part of it has to do with class sizes and outcome expectations that are not age appropriate. Why teachers put up with this situation is beyond me. How can we make any progress if teachers will continue be bullied into sacrificing what is fundamental to age appropriate practice in order to be underpaid and burnt out.
I work in a small coop school now, and the only curriculum I have is what the children decide is important with a few little daily things to provide continuity. The children are thriving and are showing great advancements in the organization and complexity of their play scenarios. They are developing their own strategies for dealing with social situations with a little guidance from me. This all happens because I am ready to go with what the children have in their heads on any given day. I just put safe limits and provide assistance when they need it. I have a wide age range from 2 to 7 years, and somehow they all are able to find appropriate tasks and play partners. But, the key is having a small group, a teacher who is flexible and experienced, and parents who are willing to trust that their children will learn if given a rich environment and opportunity to use it.
To my poetry list:
I know as a preschool teacher that many children really get into painting their faces and hands and other body parts whenever paint is available. It has also been a popular planned activity since I have been teaching in the mid 80s. I think mostly it’s fun for them to look different, basically a prop for imaginary play. But maybe the self-painting and face painting as a planned activity have different motivations. I think that may be the case.
You could look at childrens’ programming on TV (Zoom, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers) or family and childrens’ magazines (Ladybug, Cricket, Zoom, National Geographic Kids, Family Fun). I know I have seen many articles on face painting and seen it on TV. I couldn’t say where or how it would have started as a party idea, probably one of the many magazines targeting stay at home mothers maybe even as far back as the sixties.
To my preschool parents:
In the preschool we are planning our garden and will start this week planting seeds indoors. As a home activity you might take your child to pick out a plant or seeds to put in the garden. We have had discussions in class about what seeds they would like to plant. They have also expressed a lot of interest in expanding our rose collection to include more colors. Discussions about gardens and how plants grow will continue to be our main focus in March.