This year, the big question of ‘Transformation’ underpins the investigations in the ELC. While the understanding is Transformation, this can and will look different in every classroom in the school.
Teaching is not simply a matter of transmitting knowledge from one to another, rather teaching and learning are the transformations brought about through unique and living relationships. Presenting big ideas to children can be the spark that challenges them to reach out from their own understandings to make connections with the understandings of others. This helps them to see, hear and respect multiple perspectives and that there is not only one way.
“Intellectual conflict is understood as the engine of all growth. Therefore, teachers seek to bring out, rather than suppress, conflicts of viewpoints between children. Similarly, among themselves, they readily accept disagreement and expect extended discussion and constructive criticism: this is seen as the best way to advance.” Edwards,C (1998) The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach. P191
The choice of topic was chosen for its endless possibilities and not one outcome. We hoped that each investigation would be authentic, a source of deep learning and would offer opportunities for children to engage in joyful ways.
It began with the teachers’ exploration of what transformation means to them. Thoughts, wonderings and ideas were written down. This documentation has a place of visual importance in the ELC where teachers can revisit ideas either on their own or in collaborative groups.
“Teachers – like children – feel the need to grow in their competencies; they want to transform experiences into thoughts, thoughts into reflections, and reflections into new thoughts and new actions. They also feel a need to make predictions, to try things out, and to interpret them …Teachers must learn to interpret ongoing processes rather than wait to evaluate results.” Loris Malaguzzi
Our professional learning and planning allows a complex and interactive process in which teacher reflection and collaboration is viewed with the utmost importance. In fact, the process is parallel to the way that we see our children learning. Our seminar meetings held weekly give opportunity for teachers to share their documentation with others and to reflect, question and learn from the different perspectives of the other teachers in the group. This documentation is the foundation for the planning and reflecting that occurs in these meetings.
The question of ‘what surprised you?’ when discussing the investigations helps keep the attitude of research, curiosity and wonder when you discover something you were not expecting.
The investigations taking place in each classroom with the umbrella focus of Transformation are seen through different lenses. The sciences, mathematics, language and literacy, the visual arts, geography, transformation through the creation of the world in Jewish Studies and more.
This term a series of evenings with parents are taking place. These evenings entitled ‘Sharing our Learning’ will then culminate in our display of documentation Windows into Children’s Thinking and our research journal of the same name, which is produced annually.
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