We’ve kicked off Summer 2013 with a little creative writing. The first thing the kids do in the mornings now is a creative writing piece. While each sample varies, the children are required to include three things in their story, and each day those three requirements are different.
This activity is at the core of the Reggio Emilia approach. It allows the kids to have some control over the direction of their learning, it allows children to learn through touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing, and it encourages a relationship with other children during the collaborative learning and creating process.
To inspire creativity, they have spent the first week studying the book “Pezzettino” by Leo Lionni. Pezzettino means “little piece” in Italian and the book focuses on how a ‘little piece’ visits several creatures made out of colorful squares to find who he belongs to. The summary of the book is how everyone else is big and does daring and wonderful things, but he is just a small, lost, “little piece.” The conclusion is a delightful and satisfying realization that he, like everybody else, is made up of several little pieces and is actually whole and complete unto himself. Pezzettino is a playful children’s book with collage-like illustrations.
During this week’s activity, the children were given piece of paper, similar to the theme and artwork in Pezzettino. Each image in Pezzettino is an abstract shape that is named by its attributes, so the assignment we gave the kids is to essentially do the same: use their imagination to create by using shapes. It was a challenge for the kids to create a finite image from a shape. For example, children wanted to make giraffes and birds, so it was difficult to make an image that “flies fast” and have it be a simple shape.
We worked on this project for three days. Each day we spent time discussing the difference between adjectives and nouns and analyzing the pieces they made to see if they could collaborate and think more creatively.
Below is a selection of the pieces made in class. We discussed the artwork during story time and listened to what each child thought the picture might represent. Then we listened to the child who created the piece and learned what he/she originally intended to create.