Exploring the Environment

This class uses more than one space in the building on a daily basis.  We allow for the children to break up into small groups through out the day and spend time in different areas of building to use different materials.  We believe that the children should be free to move around the building and not be kept in one room for the entire day.

One of the principals of the Reggio philosophy is that the environment acts as a teacher.  We set up the environment in different ways throughout the building to provide the children with provocations.

In our hallway, we take advantage of the natural light.  On this day, we set up an area for painting.  A beautiful color spectrum was presented, with several pieces of blank paper waiting to see what would happen……

On two other tables, many materials were provided for writing, cutting, sticking and gluing.  We were eager to see what materials the children would use, and for what…….

After they came, we were so proud to see them work.  They use the materials like masters.  They are familiar with them, they understand what each one does, and they use them exactly as they wish.

Because they are trusted to use the materials on a daily  basis, they understand that they are respected, and they use the materials in the proper way.  Yes, every once in a while do we have a mess, but for the most part they use what they want for the reasons they want, and then put the materials back where they belong.  They are calm and relaxed, instead of excited wanting to touch and use everything as if they are seeing it for the first time.  They are familiar with everything, and know what they need and for what.

They bring us their work and tell us when they are finished.  We are proud to inform you that they are staying for longer periods of time on their work.  Their attention spans are getting longer, and their work is becoming more detailed.

Notice the details in her work.  Each line she drew took strong fine motor skills to hold the paper down as she used the oil pastel.  We can look at their work and analyze her marks.  She is creating complex images and if you look closely, you will see that there is only one oval on the page.  The rest are lines, and this is the begriming of the next stage in writing and drawing.  It takes skill to make sure the paper does not wrinkle up as she makes her marks.  We also love that she chose to only put the color on one corner of the paper. ;0)

To us teachers, we are excited when we see a trend or characteristics start to evolve from our children.  It lets us know that we are doing our job right, and we are allowing the children to figure out more of who they are and what they like.  This child, LOVES oil pastels.  No matter what the options are in front of her, the oil pastels are what she prefers to work with.

And she is creating some pretty amazing work for her age………..


On this piece, she placed a small sticker down on the paper and then colored on top of it.. This was her “rainbow”.

This group of children began drawing and using the stickers.  The boys made airplanes, while the girls stuck to drawing pictures……..

We were totally amazed by this child’s work.  She was so precise in her drawing and then spent so much time lining up the small stickers to boarder her work……..

This piece deserves a frame………don’t you think??????

If you look closely, you can see that she even wrote her name on it!!!!

Here is the final “RAINBOW”……..

 She wrote the word rainbow as well……..



As for our painting station, well, we love it when the children throw us a curve ball!! lol.  Our two little friends “M” and “B” decided to run the paint brushes along all of the bench of paints, and all along the wall of paper!  Not what we expected but still something worth observing and mentoring…….

They painted along the colors.  Now, to an outsider, he/she might look at what they are doing and be tempted to say, “hey you are painting all over the furniture”  but for us, we believe there is a reason.  Maybe the beautiful spectrum of colors along the bench has inspired them to paint there in hopes that they find the right shades to match.  They saw all of the blank pieces of paper, and felt like something needed to be on all of them, and they would take care of the problem.

But after they left their mark on the entire area, “B” decided to settle down and stick to one paper.  He spent time slowly touching the paper with his brush to make little marks.  He is beginning to understand brush strokes and how to manipulate them.  He concentrated as he made sure to make the marks he wanted.

At the end of the class period, this is what we found!  Beautiful………..


In the classroom, other projects were developing.  We had an oil and water experiment set up.  The tray had a thin layer of oil over the light table, and the children were able to use droppers to put colored water in the trays.  The result was a beautiful science experiment showcasing how oil and water do not mix………


We thought they would be into the colors and the process of what was happening in the tray, but instead, we found that team work and cooperation was the main focus of the activity…..


Understanding how to use the droppers is a challenge for this age group.  They had to use the dropper to put the colored water in the pan.  “A” had figured out how to do it, but “P'” still didn’t’ know how yet.  so of course, they set out to help each other………..



“A” grabbed her hand and helped her squeeze and drop when she needed to…..


She helped her squeeze so tight! lol


This of course caught the attention of two more children…………..

And they soon began to use the materials.  They did struggle at first, but the four of them were right their to help each other out.



In the end, they worked together, communicated, problem solved, and used the materials together.   We watched them ask each other for help, ask for it to be their turn, and answer and help each other out.  Who needs teachers????? lol!




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