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"no space is marginal, no corner is unimportant and each space needs to be alive and open to change"
The Environment as the Third Teacher:
When you walk into a Reggio Emilia School it's easy to understand why the Reggio Emilia approach considers the school environment to be the "third teacher."
Much attention is paid to the look and feel of the classroom. The objective is to create a pleasant atmosphere, where children, families and teachers feel understood and at ease.
The Environment embodies Reggio educators' belief that children are resourceful, curious, competent, imaginative, and have a desire to interact with and communicate with others. They believe that children can create meaning and make sense of their world the best through living in rich environments which support complex, varied, sustained, and changing relationships between people, the world of experience, ideas and the many ways of expressing ideas.
Henry Janzen Kindergarten school:
The first thing that came to mind when looking into the environment of a Reggio Emilia school was how different it looked from a typical North American school. The typical North American classroom reflects notions of preparation for the future world of work, of an environment that isolates particular aspects of a culture, which simplifies visual forms, and protects children from the outside world. Its visual aesthetic reflects mass marketing and craft-store culture. It does not challenge children aesthetically to respond deeply to the natural world, their cultural heritage, or to their inner worlds.
The Diana School- Reggio Emilia
Reggio educators include aspects of a home into the school: vases of flowers, real dishes, tablecloths, and plants. There is attention to design and placement of objects to provide a visual and meaningful context. The objects within the space are not simplified, cartoon like images that are assumed to appeal to children, but are "beautiful" objects in their own right. For example, dried flowers hang from the ceiling beams and attractive jars of beans and seeds are displayed on shelves in the dinning area.
Exploring our own rich outdoor environment:
100 Inch Hike:
You will need one piece of string each. Shrinking our field of
perception often adds to our awareness. By closely examining a very small area, discover
wonders which might otherwise be overlooked. In the 100 Inch Hike, everyone is given a piece of string
100 inches long. Each person places it on the ground or around the environment and explores carefully the area along the
string. Record, imagine or create something that you have learned, discovered or found interesting that you could bring back to the class
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