Our philosophy is inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which is based on certain principals.
- Children MUST have some control over the direction of their learning
- Children MUST be able to learn through their senses: touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing
- Children MUST have a relationship with materials and children. They MUST be allowed to explore.
- Children MUST be provided endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
As we researched we learned the difference between fresh water and salt water fish. We also came to realize that if we put all of the animals the children wanted in the tank, that some would be eaten by others. Allowing the children to do the research and be a part of choosing the fish in the tank brought life to the learning. They now spend time weekly with Coach Chip feeding and investigating what is going on in the tank.
Coach Chip visited the Red Room with a book about fish. He read, Our Pet Tropical Fish. This book helped them understand how to care for the fish, and also talked about different species of fish to care for in the tank. The children talked about the colors, shapes, and sizes of many different types of fish.
Coach: Is this a big fish or a small fish?
Taylor: Small fish!
Jackson: No, it’s big…
Aven: And yummy!
Alexander: I wanna be a boy fish.
Aven: Where’s the girl fish?
(Coach pointed to the boy/girl fish)
The children followed Coach to the hallway and that sat down to observe our pet fish. Each day, a different class is responsible for feeding the fish their food. Today it was their turn! They were excited to see the fish, shrimp, and crab swim around and catch food. They talked about the fish, what they were called, and what they were eating.
Taylor: Look! It’s eating shrimp!
Alexander: He’s coming out of the water…
Cason: Fish flying!
Connor: And he fall back in the water like BOOM!
Aven: Oh boy, the shark is gonna come in and eat the fish.
Connor: The shark is coming out! He’s in the water!
Cason: No, that’s a big fish.
We allow for our children to talk during lessons, and raise questions. We also encourage their discussions, imaginations and curiosity. We provided the children with markers and paper so that they could have another way to express their thoughts as they were observing the fish……..
A few days later, we took another visit to the aquarium…
Holden: Look—A crab!
Taylor: I see a worm!
Jack: No, no… that’s an octopus.
Jacob: No, it’s a worm.
Alexander: There are a lot of fishies!
We continue to visit our fish tank and observe our aquatic animals every day so that the children are given an opportunity to use their cognitive skills in learning about living and non-living organisms, their habitats, and their basic needs for survival. The children build their own theories, and with that comes the research and experimental observations that will help their knowledge on life-cycles.