Reggio-Inspired Autobiographies

 

If you're looking for ideas to inspire your kids to read and write, you're going to LOVE this DIY bookmaking project! 

Often, young children need a little warming up, a little prompting when it comes to getting pen to paper  - especially if they suffer from perfectionistic tendencies, and want to get it just right.

Bookmaking opens a world of writing inspiration. A beautiful handmade book BEGS to be filled with your child's ideas, stories and pictures.

I like to think of bookmaking as the intersection of emergent literacy and art-making. A truly winning combination.

An autobiography is a wonderful starting point, because your child is sharing facts about his life. They're also a beautiful way to catch a glimpse of how your child see himself in the world, and the things that are most important to them.

Construct the book with the instructions inside the video at the top of this post.

Once the structure is completed, your book is ready to...

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Reggio-Inspired Atelier {at Home!}

 

What is an atelier?

How does the atelier foster our kids' creativity and self expression?

How can we create our own mini-atelier in our own home, and what materials should be included?

 

In Reggio Emilia, Italy, the atelier is like the beating heart of the classroom. 

A dedicated space for art-makinglong-term projects and creative exploration through a variety of rich art media, accessible to children to represent their ideas, provoke creative thinking, and show understanding through their one hundred languages.

How might we bring the magic of the Atelier home?

What kinds of tools should we include, and how can they be organized to foster independence and creative exploration for our own children?

 

Designating a dedicated space for creating sends a message to our children that art is valued, and that they are valued as artists.

This can be a special nook, corner or area of...

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The Reggio-Inspired Learning Space

Are you cringing that I used the word decor?

I dislike it too.

Ambiente (amˈbyentē) is a much better term, and encompasses so much more...

The textures, the colours, the smells, the feel, the vibe you get when you enter a space.

In fact, ambiente is the word used to describe the environment - the child's third teacher -  in a Reggio Emilia-Inspired world.

Why is so much attention given to the space that surrounds our children in the world of Reggio?

When we create an environment that respects children as learners and full of potentialthey in turn respect their environment and view themselves as capable, competent and full of potential. 

 

They understand that this is a place where they are honoured as artists and creators, and that learning is valued here.

 

When we think of our child's learning environment, what are some ideas that come to mind? How might we see the space through our children's eyes?

A quick...

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Reggio-Inspired Valentines

 

Valentine's Day is a special day that captures the hearts {and sweet-teeth} of our children, and is a day that holds so much possibility for dialogue about lovekindness and friendship.

Children of all ages love to receive and create their own handmade Valentines, and inside my latest YouTube video, I'm sharing several {new!} process-art techniques for creating Valentines cards for sharing, and ways to extend these invitations to include beginning writing.

 But how do we extend our children's Valentine's art to also encourage writing?

Begin with mind-mapping exercises (brainstorming), where you create a bubble map of children's ideas about love / kindness / friendship.

Some ideas for brainstorming:

  • People we love
  • What is Love?
  • What does kindness look like / sound like / feel like?
  • What does it mean to be a good friend?

 

These brainstorming moments are a great way to initiate our kids' prior knowledgeThis...

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A Day in our Reggio-Inspired Kindergarten Homeschool

 

 

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a Reggio-Inspired classroom?

Do you dabble with the approach - injecting the odd provocation here and there, experimenting with emergent curriculum, but also enjoy a more predictable, structured {planned} curriculum?

Have you wondered how to meet all the academic outcomes, but also how to balance a child-centred, curiosity-driven approach?  What are the rhythms and routines? How does learning “happen?” What does a typical schedule look like?

I’m also sharing my {somewhat controversial} stance - as someone who straddles the line between a traditional, teacher-directed approach with a more Reggio-inspired, child-centred approach. The "sweet spot" where wonder meets rigour.

I used to struggle with internal questions like:

"Is this inquiry-enough?"
"Is this artsy/playful/natural enough?"
"Does this spark enough joy/wonder/creativity?" 

More recently, however, I have finally become comfortable in my...

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New Years Eve {with Kids}

 

Are you looking for fun, easy and inexpensive ways to ring in the New Year - with kids??

For the past several years, we've included our own children in New Years Eve festivities. 

Our tradition has been to gather with a few other families for an evening of kid-friendly games and activities. My friend {a fellow Kindergarten teacher} has always been a gracious host, and prepares the most fun games for our kids.

I'm sharing some fun, easy and inexpensive ways to keep your kids happily entertained as we ring in 2019! 

*All of the printables, labels, done-for-you-games are available to download in one package here.

1. Celebration Kits

These kits are a fun way to get kids excited about the evening. Inside, is a simple collection of Dollar-store goodies, homemade crafts and edible treats.  They include balloons, noisemakers, fancy necklaces, glow bracelets, crowns, and a bag of edible "Midnight Kisses." 

The "Celebration Sparkle Dough" that's inside was inspired...

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My Dollar Store Homeschool Room

 

So you want to level-up your learning space.

Maybe you're even ready to Reggio-fy it. {What is Reggio? Learn more here}.

You see all the inspiration on Pinterest, on blogs and your imagination, but there's one problem.

You have a LIMITED budget.

As a former classroom teacher, working in Inner City, I know what it's like to work with a meagre budget.

But we're resourceful, practical educators right? We know how to stretch our dollar!

We know the importance of creating a space that feels cozy, warm and inviting.

We probably have a vision for creating a learning environment that's responsive to our kids' emerging interests; a space that is inspiring enough to pique curiosities and promote engagement, and cheerful and bright enough to promote happy learning.

So how can we begin to take steps to transform our learning space - whether that's the dining room, classroom, garage, or dedicated homeschool room - so that it is more inviting and inspiring? 

So that children will feel...

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The Sudden Homeschooler's Survival Guide: Part 4

 

Set it Up!

Okay! You’ve carved out a schedule for your day, now it’s time to sprinkle in the fun, meaningful learning activities {I call these “invitations”}.

Setting up an invitation requires a bit of prep, but the benefits are SO WORTH IT.

If you lay out the basic supplies needed in an inviting way, your child is SURE to dive in, and be engaged far longer

The kinds of invitations I'm talking about...

  • DON’T require you to be glued to your child’s side 
  • DON’T involve tons of pricey, scarce supplies
  • DON’T involve drill + kill worksheets that will turn your kids off learning.

These kinds of learning invitations are set up with your child’s many languages in mind {in Reggio we call this “the child’s one hundred languages” - meaning, kids express themselves in MANY ways: art, movement, music, sculpture, construction, drama… 

These invitations are meant to be FUN...

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The Sudden Homeschooler's Survival Guide: Part 3

 

How to Homeschool when you’re NOT a homeschooler!

Setting up your Basic Schedule 

Now that you’ve got some ideas to create your impromptu learning space, it’s time to make a structure for your day. Kids THRIVE on structure, routine and predictability.

Neuroscientists have found that children's brains need a predictable schedule - because when children feel safe and comfortable, learning flourishes.

That said, your schedule should be flexible. Rhythms, routines...a general, predictable FLOW is what I'm talking about...

Make a list of the “musts” for the day.

Meal time. Outdoor play time. Naps. Chores. Bedtime etc.

Schedule it!

Create a schedule that works for your family. Carve out chunks of time for a morning meeting (15 minutes), some focussed learning time (20-30 minute chunks), baking or cooking, as well as free unstructured play time. You can include your children's input here also. Be intentional about screen time - come up with...

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The Sudden Homeschooler's Survival Guide: Part 1

Unexpected Homeschooler?

Don’t Panic! Deep breath. You can do this. *I promise.*

School closures are happening across the nation. This is a guarantee.

But for how long? This is still an unknown.

If you find yourself in the position of a “sudden homeschooler,” but also need to get work done, you might be wondering…

  • What do I do with the kids?
  • How do I occupy them without the iPad or Netflix 24/7?
  • How can I maintain some structure and order in the home when things feel utterly chaotic?
  • How and what am I supposed to be teaching my kids?
  • How do we all stay sane?

Look, Mama. You’ve got this.

 

And I’m here to support you through it all. 

 

Before you continue to read, let’s start this post with a serious #mindsetshift

So here we are. At home. With kids. For 2, 3, 4 maybe more weeks….

What a BLESSING! 

Seriously. Before you let the panic, stress and overwhelm consume you, step back and think… in a...

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