My Dollar Store Classroom

 

So you want to Reggio-fy your classroom.

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

You have ZERO budget.

Having taught in the Inner City, I know that teachers' meagre classroom budgets are barely big enough to cover writing supplies and a few notebooks and maybe a field trip, let alone flexible seating, beautiful matching wicker baskets and a gorgeous oversized rug.

You know the importance of creating Ambiente. The importance of creating a space that is responsive to our students' emerging interests; a space that is inspiring enough to pique curiosities and promote engagement, and comfortable and cozy enough to feel like home away from home. 

So how can we begin to take steps to transform our classroom learning environment so that it is more inviting and inspiring, so that children will feel more comfortable, at home, and engaged in their learning? Where do we start, given our limited budget?

Well,...

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Reggio Made Easy:  A Beginner’s Guide to Reggio-Inspired Learning the North American Way

Over ten years ago, I discovered an approach to teaching and learning that would forever transform how I view children, teaching and learning.

As an advocate for the Arts and play-based learning and a lover of inspiring design, the Reggio-Emilia approach to early learning resonated with every fibre of my being.

But what does it mean to be Reggio-inspired, and where did the term come from? And more importantly, how can we - as North American educators and homeschoolers - take inspiration from such an approach, but also remain accountable for the learning outcomes we are expected to teach our children in the context of a public or homeschool education?

Reggio Emilia is a town in Northern Italy, and over 50 years ago at the conclusion of the second World War, a forward thinking phychologist named Loris Malaguzzi re-imagined education for children that would forever change the landscape of teaching and learning in the early years.

Reggio is not a model, or a system that can be...

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Why I decided to start a school

From the time I can remember, I had wanted to become a teacher.

Teddy bears, Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears lined up in a row, seated before the giant chalkboard my dad had found at a garage sale. This was how I played every day. Even my little brother got a front row in my classroom {much to his chagrin}.

I don't know if it was my mother's influence {a well-respected teacher, now-turned-Education Consultant}, or the fact that I loved nurturing all those stuffed characters, or because I had the most  amazing Nursery School teacher who was way ahead her time; but I knew with all my heart, THIS was what I was born to do.

Upon graduating from University with my Bachelor's of Education {and a major in Art}, I set about finding a job teaching Art at the Elementary level {my wheelhouse}. There was no such role at the time. High school art teachers were a plenty, but in the Early Years, where I knew I wanted to be, this was an untapped, unprecedented idea.

So, I happily accepted...

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