Friday, April 18, 2014

"The right to act like a robot"

By Jessica Larson

The Reggio approach is one of the 5 big ideas that powers The Little School. Over this past winter and into spring, many of us have had the opportunity to attend Reggio conferences and workshops. There we were treated to goose bump inducing lectures, tours of educationally rich Reggio centers, and opportunities to engage with other professionals in our field.  

The core of the Reggio pedagogy, as laid out by its first teacher Loris Malaguzzi, was that children are born citizens of the world, and therefore have the RIGHT to quality education from the moment of birth. It is our jobs as teachers, as parents, and as a community to establish these conditions of quality and opportunity to learn. The word RIGHT carries tremendous power. Reggio Emilia was a town reduced to physical, social and emotional rubble after WWII. Surveying the wreckage, the largely female based community chose to rebuild their early learning centers before anything else. Wading in the ruin of a country destroyed by war, the town sought a radical new way to educate their children at the youngest age to be free thinkers, so they would never again fall under the rule of fascism.

“If the children had legitimate rights, then they also should have opportunities to develop their intelligence and to be made ready for the success that would not, and should not, escape them”
-- Loris Malaguzzi

This plays out everyday at TLS as I see children exploring their world, examining cicada shells, crossing logs over a creek, finding safe places, asking questions and being allowed to try something new. Being allowed to think bigger than the classroom. When we validate their way of learning, the seemingly simple drawing becomes a story, an act of discovering a new way to make themselves understood. As Loris Malaguzzi writes: “The act of research already exists in the hands of children”

A right is defined as “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way”. That’s a hugely subjective and conceptual idea. Never the less, I decide to ask some of our students: 

What are your rights at The Little School? This is what they told me:

“I have the right to…..”
- … snuggle with your blankie at naptime
- … take the sand out of the sandbox
- … muddy puddles, milkshakes and to take care of the trees
- … ride our bikes all together and play with my friends
- … fly an airplane
- … lunch and snack
- … listen to “Frozen”
- … make cards and do a treasure hunt
- … play legos and read books
- … get sick
- … draw Mommy and Daddy getting married
- … blink my eyes
- … wear Barbie doll clothes or Batman clothes to school
- … listen to “Beat It”
- … act like a robot
- … to make sand and water
- … be with Ms. Jessica
- … stay in the beads (center) and make a jewelry shop
- … play legos; build the pieces into a robot
- … play animals and blocks
- … have fun
- … go home at the end of the day
- … to hold something soft in my hand
- … sit down when your ankle hurts, or whenever you want to sit down
- … do whatever I want
- … be mad
- … be happy

"The pleasure of learning and knowing, and of understanding, is one of the most important and basic feelings that every child expects from the experiences he confronts alone, with other children or with adults. It is a crucial feeling which must be reinforced so that the pleasure survives even when reality may prove that learning, knowing and understanding involve difficulty and effort" -- Loris Malaguzzi

1 comment:

  1. The beauty of the dedication of LISTENING to the child resonates louder than anything. This Blog is one of beauty! The Little School community has and continues to value the child in ways no others do. KUDOS! Miss and Love you All!


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