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Old 01-17-2013, 08:27 AM
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Default Reggio Emilia Approach

Does anyone use the Reggio Emilia approach for their program? Can you tell me how you implement it in your home based program? I have been researching this educational philosophy and am interested, but I'm not sure if I fully understand it. I know it focuses on child directed curriculum so would that mean a play based curriculum? I learned about this way of teaching in an ECE class, but that was a loooong time ago...lol
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:30 AM
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Does anyone use the Reggio Emilia approach for their program? Can you tell me how you implement it in your home based program? I have been researching this educational philosophy and am interested, but I'm not sure if I fully understand it. I know it focuses on child directed curriculum so would that mean a play based curriculum? I learned about this way of teaching in an ECE class, but that was a loooong time ago...lol
Melskids and Nothing-without-joy.

I am hoping to do my Practicum 3 at a Regio program. I am particularly interested in using it with infants and toddlers, and the transitioning full-blown as they grow
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:46 AM
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I use a mixture of both Reggio and Montessori and really focus on play based curriculum and unplanned teachable moments/moments of value.

Here is a really cool site about a Reggio child care and how it works for them!


http://www.reggiokids.com/about/about_approach.php
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:03 AM
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I use a mixture of both Reggio and Montessori and really focus on play based curriculum and unplanned teachable moments/moments of value.

Here is a really cool site about a Reggio child care and how it works for them!


http://www.reggiokids.com/about/about_approach.php
Thanks for the link!
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I use a mixture of both Reggio and Montessori and really focus on play based curriculum and unplanned teachable moments/moments of value.

Here is a really cool site about a Reggio child care and how it works for them!


http://www.reggiokids.com/about/about_approach.php
I do a combination focused on play based learning as well.

There's a lot of good blogs too!
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:15 AM
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I use a mixture of both Reggio and Montessori and really focus on play based curriculum and unplanned teachable moments/moments of value.

Here is a really cool site about a Reggio child care and how it works for them!


http://www.reggiokids.com/about/about_approach.php
Soo...that brings me back to the magical documentation. It's a big aspect of Reggio, and a big plus-point for Youngstar. It's the main reason I'm considering the Gold Assessment.

How do you approach this, BC?
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:29 AM
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Since all "play" contains learning moments, I just choose one developmental area at a time to observe and document.

Lets use blocks for example. Blocks can be appropriate for
math/science (counting, sorting and grouping)
language/literacy (color identification, shape identification, bin lables and conversation and communication)
social/emotional (sharing and group play)
physical/motor skills(stacking, sorting)
cognitive (bigger, smaller, wider, round, smooth etc)

Is that the documentation part you are referring to?

The rating thing here is still only a pilot program and we haven't been "schooled" or trained on any of that as of yet. I am simply remembering documentation from my college course work.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:17 PM
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Since all "play" contains learning moments, I just choose one developmental area at a time to observe and document.

Lets use blocks for example. Blocks can be appropriate for
math/science (counting, sorting and grouping)
language/literacy (color identification, shape identification, bin lables and conversation and communication)
social/emotional (sharing and group play)
physical/motor skills(stacking, sorting)
cognitive (bigger, smaller, wider, round, smooth etc)

Is that the documentation part you are referring to?

The rating thing here is still only a pilot program and we haven't been "schooled" or trained on any of that as of yet. I am simply remembering documentation from my college course work.
yeah...sort of...

For Youngstar. the expectation here is:

You assess the children through an accepted assessment tool. Then, you decide what Early Learning Standards you want to address. Based on this, you write your curriculum (for all the children, including infants). Then, you document what they've done, communicate what they've learned, and you assess again. It's all about being "intentional".

So...through your observations and assessments, you notice one 4yo hasn't mastered scissors. You intigrate use of scissors into your lesson plans. You take a picture of the child using scissors, ad an annotation into their portfolio, and make sure to communicate that with the parents.

You would do the same for your infants-school agers. For school-agers, there is a whole OTHER set of criteria to integrate.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:16 PM
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Does anyone use the Reggio Emilia approach for their program? Can you tell me how you implement it in your home based program? I have been researching this educational philosophy and am interested, but I'm not sure if I fully understand it. I know it focuses on child directed curriculum so would that mean a play based curriculum? I learned about this way of teaching in an ECE class, but that was a loooong time ago...lol
My program is Reggio-inspired. It's a huge shift in perspective from traditional American schooling, so it's impossible to sum up in a post. A few things that come to mind right away--
--yes, play based and child directed (some say "a negotiated curriculum," as in it's drawn from the children's play/interests/questions but is co-created between the children and the adults)
--based on an assumption of children's competence (vs. their "needs," as we often see things here)
--based on relationships
--high value on the environment, aesthetics
--offering opportunities for children to express what they know through "the hundred languages of children" (i.e. drawing, paint, dance, drama, construction, song, etc, etc, etc)--not crafts, not randomly selected art activities, but art as a medium of communication and problem-solving
--using documentation to record what's going on, analyze it, share it with the community, and reflect back on it with the children--so to build on it and take the project further.

At home, the trickiest part about implementing Reggio practices (for me) is that there's no co-teacher to brainstorm with. And when I'm deep into project work with children and someone suddenly needs to be wiped or a fight needs to be refereed, there's no one but me to do it--so there's a lot more interruptions. Also, at home I don't want the large documentation panels that were a big part of my work in the classroom, so I work to find other ways to document.

I spend my naptimes writing blog posts for the parents, which serve as my main documentation. I'd love to be able to share them with you all, but it's a private blog. I have a few Reggio-based posts on my personal blog, which you may see here, if you're interested. Some other Reggio-inspired aspects you might notice if you visited my home:
--other documentation of our work, such as a book about a recent project
--a fully-stocked art studio in lieu of a playroom
--the use of real materials--from drinking glasses to art supplies--rather than kids' stuff
--child-initiated projects from tiny (a collage) to large (an "museum" evening event for parents planned by the kids, with costumes made by the kids, art displayed by the kids, invitations written by the kids, etc.)
--use of natural materials, light, mirrors.

You can get a tiny glimpse into our day through my recent craigslist ad, here. I also have some environment pics up in the decor forum.

Well, this is turning into a ridiculously long post! I'll leave it there and you can ask me questions if you want more.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:51 PM
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My program is Reggio-inspired. It's a huge shift in perspective from traditional American schooling, so it's impossible to sum up in a post. A few things that come to mind right away--
--yes, play based and child directed (some say "a negotiated curriculum," as in it's drawn from the children's play/interests/questions but is co-created between the children and the adults)
--based on an assumption of children's competence (vs. their "needs," as we often see things here)
--based on relationships
--high value on the environment, aesthetics
--offering opportunities for children to express what they know through "the hundred languages of children" (i.e. drawing, paint, dance, drama, construction, song, etc, etc, etc)--not crafts, not randomly selected art activities, but art as a medium of communication and problem-solving
--using documentation to record what's going on, analyze it, share it with the community, and reflect back on it with the children--so to build on it and take the project further.

At home, the trickiest part about implementing Reggio practices (for me) is that there's no co-teacher to brainstorm with. And when I'm deep into project work with children and someone suddenly needs to be wiped or a fight needs to be refereed, there's no one but me to do it--so there's a lot more interruptions. Also, at home I don't want the large documentation panels that were a big part of my work in the classroom, so I work to find other ways to document.

I spend my naptimes writing blog posts for the parents, which serve as my main documentation. I'd love to be able to share them with you all, but it's a private blog. I have a few Reggio-based posts on my personal blog, which you may see here, if you're interested. Some other Reggio-inspired aspects you might notice if you visited my home:
--other documentation of our work, such as a book about a recent project
--a fully-stocked art studio in lieu of a playroom
--the use of real materials--from drinking glasses to art supplies--rather than kids' stuff
--child-initiated projects from tiny (a collage) to large (an "museum" evening event for parents planned by the kids, with costumes made by the kids, art displayed by the kids, invitations written by the kids, etc.)
--use of natural materials, light, mirrors.

You can get a tiny glimpse into our day through my recent craigslist ad, here. I also have some environment pics up in the decor forum.

Well, this is turning into a ridiculously long post! I'll leave it there and you can ask me questions if you want more.
Wow! Thank you for all your info...you are truly inspiring me...I have a lot of research to do! Your field bags are amazing! I love how you talk about adding items as time goes on and how the children will learn form what is added as they get older. Thank you for all the information1
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:17 AM
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Oh, good! Glad it was useful. :-)
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:20 AM
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Maybe Crystal (??) will chime in. I remember awhile ago she was a fan.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:42 AM
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Hi, Heidi,

I just found your post, misfiled under another post--glad I spotted it! I'll cut and paste it here, since I don't know how to fix that:

"Nothing Without Joy:

Oh...I have SOOO many questions. I was going to PM you, but since there is interest, I'll ask here.

My first question, is I noticed that you had several rooms that you use. Are the children free to roam around, or do you keep them together as a group?

I see that your daughter is a 1-year old. Is she an exception to your program, or do you typically have such little ones? How do you keep her safe in your program with glue guns and tiny pieces available?

How do you keep your studio and home beautiful? I am trying to figure out just how I could offer paint, clay, and tiny pieces of things here and not have it everywhere. I would love to do it...

Do you have any "toys"? Maybe I missed it. You said no "playroom", but do you have a selection of blocks, dressup toys, etc?

Where can one get Reggio training? There is a center in Madison that uses the approach, and I think they are offering a training in April. I'm just trying to figure out how to apply a center approach, with everyone the same age in a classroom, to a mixed age group.... "

Then I'm going to reply separately, so I can quote it properly.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:45 AM
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Hi, Heidi,

I just found your post, misfiled under another post--glad I spotted it! I'll cut and paste it here, since I don't know how to fix that:

"Nothing Without Joy:

Oh...I have SOOO many questions. I was going to PM you, but since there is interest, I'll ask here.

My first question, is I noticed that you had several rooms that you use. Are the children free to roam around, or do you keep them together as a group?

I see that your daughter is a 1-year old. Is she an exception to your program, or do you typically have such little ones? How do you keep her safe in your program with glue guns and tiny pieces available?

How do you keep your studio and home beautiful? I am trying to figure out just how I could offer paint, clay, and tiny pieces of things here and not have it everywhere. I would love to do it...

Do you have any "toys"? Maybe I missed it. You said no "playroom", but do you have a selection of blocks, dressup toys, etc?

Where can one get Reggio training? There is a center in Madison that uses the approach, and I think they are offering a training in April. I'm just trying to figure out how to apply a center approach, with everyone the same age in a classroom, to a mixed age group.... "

Then I'm going to reply separately, so I can quote it properly.
She actually started a whole other thread just to pick your brain!

http://daycare.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59049
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by nothingwithoutjoy View Post
Hi, Heidi,

I just found your post, misfiled under another post--glad I spotted it! I'll cut and paste it here, since I don't know how to fix that:

"Nothing Without Joy:

Oh...I have SOOO many questions. I was going to PM you, but since there is interest, I'll ask here.

My first question, is I noticed that you had several rooms that you use. Are the children free to roam around, or do you keep them together as a group?

I see that your daughter is a 1-year old. Is she an exception to your program, or do you typically have such little ones? How do you keep her safe in your program with glue guns and tiny pieces available?

How do you keep your studio and home beautiful? I am trying to figure out just how I could offer paint, clay, and tiny pieces of things here and not have it everywhere. I would love to do it...

Do you have any "toys"? Maybe I missed it. You said no "playroom", but do you have a selection of blocks, dressup toys, etc?

Where can one get Reggio training? There is a center in Madison that uses the approach, and I think they are offering a training in April. I'm just trying to figure out how to apply a center approach, with everyone the same age in a classroom, to a mixed age group.... "

Then I'm going to reply separately, so I can quote it properly.
yeah...I had 2 windows open, and typed it into the wrong one. I fixed it...but this will do. I was just admiring your blog pictures in another window.l
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:24 AM
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[quote=Heidi;309611]

Quote:
My first question, is I noticed that you had several rooms that you use. Are the children free to roam around, or do you keep them together as a group?
We mostly use three rooms, which are connected in an L-shape: my family room, my kitchen (with bathroom), and the studio. The children are free to roam, although there are times (like when I'm prepping lunch) that I ask them not to go into the studio.

Quote:
I see that your daughter is a 1-year old. Is she an exception to your program, or do you typically have such little ones? How do you keep her safe in your program with glue guns and tiny pieces available?
My program started with 0-3 year-olds and has gradually gotten older. When Lucy was born, I stopped taking children younger than she is (until just this year--now she's almost four and I've added some 2-year-olds), because I didn't want her to have to share me with someone who'd need me so much. When it was all infants and toddlers, there were no glue guns, and lots fewer little pieces. The environment has changed over the years, and right now, I'm turning away babies, because I'm no longer set up for that. However, the assumption of competence is a big one in Reggio, and for me. We have always used glass and china dishes, and materials in the studio are stored in glass. There has always been free access to scissors and lots of little materials. I think kids are safer when we teach them how to use materials properly than they are when we try to bubble-wrap their lives (then, when they get their hands on scissors or a broken glass, they are in danger. But if they've been taught how to use them from day one, they know how to approach them safely.) But I'm not foolish about it. I know my kids well, and know who mouths things and who doesn't. The older kids know that little stuff on the floor is dangerous for babies, and they keep an eye on the littles and warn me of danger. Also, I wore the babies a lot, which meant they were with me.

Quote:
How do you keep your studio and home beautiful? I am trying to figure out just how I could offer paint, clay, and tiny pieces of things here and not have it everywhere. I would love to do it...
Well, first I have to say that other than those three rooms, my home is NOT beautiful. I don't have time to keep it clean, and it's a constant source of stress for me. But it's extremely important to me that I keep the children's environment neat and beautiful--I think an organized environment leads to calmer, more focused, thoughtful play. Specifically... Everything has a place. We have clean-up at transitions--for example, we clean up the morning's play before going outside. If I notice kids are getting wild, or things feel hectic, I tidy. At clean-up time, we talk about how nice it feels to get things organized. They get really good at sorting! Paint and clay are messy, but they clean up fairly easily. Everything is not available all the time--I store lots in the basement and rotate.

Quote:
Do you have any "toys"? Maybe I missed it. You said no "playroom", but do you have a selection of blocks, dressup toys, etc?
Definitely toys, though a limited selection. There's a block area in the studio, because I think construction is an art form, and because I want them to be able to use the open-ended studio supplies to support their block play. But I also have a basket of small blocks under the coffee table, because some prefer to build on a table. Dress-ups things are in suitcases, which are sometimes up here, sometimes stored away, depending on the group's interest, but I have hats and purses and scarves available all the time, as they're most popular. There are also always dolls and books. There's a toy shelf in my family room on which I rotate baskets of toys. Right now, it holds: a box of alphabet cards, a huge bowl of scrabble tiles, a counting puzzle, geoboards and rubber bands in a basket, a matryoshka doll, a basket of wooden animals, a basket of dollhouse furniture, a basket of dollhouse dolls, an arcobaleno (but I got mine--a second--for $10), a basket of stacking wooden gnomes, a basket of alphabet blocks, and a basket of story stones. There's a well-stocked toy kitchen in my kitchen. There's a basket of tree blocks in a corner, and two push toys leaning beside that. There's a basket of instruments and a stack of puzzles on another shelf. That's about all the toys at the moment.

Quote:
Where can one get Reggio training? There is a center in Madison that uses the approach, and I think they are offering a training in April. I'm just trying to figure out how to apply a center approach, with everyone the same age in a classroom, to a mixed age group....
Of course, best is to go to Reggio! (Someday....). But there are lots of opportunities to learn here, too. I know there are colleges which focus on the Reggio approach, but I didn't learn about it until I was out of college. I've learned through reading (some of my faves here), online forums, blogs, and workshops. The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) will steer you to Reggio conferences, and there are others.

It's definitely a challenge to apply it to home and mixed ages, as you say, and there's not much available out there about how to do that. (Someday, I'd like to write that book!) But Reggio educators always emphasize that what works for them in their Italian municipal-run preschools is not what will work for us in our American classrooms. We can be inspired by their ideas, but must adapt them to our environment, our community, our children.

I'd love to talk more about how to do that, but once again, I've gone on too long and my daughter's about to wake up from nap! Will reply again if you've got more questions for me, though. :-)
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:25 AM
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She actually started a whole other thread just to pick your brain!

http://daycare.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59049
Oh, thanks--I was yakking on in my reply so long, I missed a few replies here!
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:26 AM
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Thank you NWOJ!

I like how you segued from babies to toddlers to preschoolers.

As a matter of fact, my older kids are moving shortly, and I will be starting "over" with 4 babies over the next 5 months.

Can you give me some examples of materials you had for babies? At what age do you introduce art materials...paint, clay, collage materials, etc.

If you were required to document "lesson plans" or "activity plans" (to get 4 or 5 stars here, we do), how could you do that?

Here is the document that we are using for my Praticum 3 class:
________________________________________________________________
DEVELOPMENTAL ACTIVITY PLAN

Student Teacher’s Name: Center Placement :
Date Written____________ Date Carried Out______________
Name of Activity ______________________________________________

CURRICULUM AREA(S): (circle)
Language Arts / Literature Math Readiness Dramatic Play Music Social Studies
Movement Sensory Science Art Cooking Other_______

Age of the children ___________ # of children completing activity at one time ________________
Time _______ Area where activity will take place________________________


What were the children say or doing that made you think of this activity?




Wisconsin Model Learning Standards:
Domain:

Sub-Domain

Performance Standard:

Key Developmental Indicator: (List one)


Concepts/ Vocabulary:

Specific accommodations for children’s individual needs/goals; additional educational tools, modified materials, physical support, positioning, etc.:


Personal Goals:



Materials Needed: (Be specific, include size and number of materials also include set-up and clean-up materials and supplies.)




Teacher Role/ Procedure:
• Motivation: (Describe gathering technique, use of visuals, such as pictures, books, puppets, or props, use of songs, finger plays, clapping games, etc.)- Be specific







• Main Activity/Description of Actual Procedure: (Be specific and include your own role as the teacher and possible statements you may use during the activity.)





• Closing Remarks/Transition:





Ideas for Follow-up:
___________________________________________________________

I'm trying to juggle a lot of different things, here. When you document, do you use anything like this? I'm thinking I could use it for my class and for the Youngstar rating. Can I use it (or something similar) as evidence of intentional planning? Can it fit with the Reggio approach? What kinds of activies (I think you called them provocations, & can I intertwine them) can I do with infants?

I was going to interview you for my class. I'll consider this the interview, on the open forum for everyone's benefit.


Thank you again for sharing, and take your time answering. I know you have other things to do, as well!
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:37 PM
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Thank you NWOJ!
You're welcome! I have a few minutes, so I'll answer a bit and tackle the rest later. This is a good way to do your interview--I can get to it when I can get to it! :-)

Quote:
I like how you segued from babies to toddlers to preschoolers.
Yes, me, too. My plan had been to start with 0-3 year olds, then do 1-4, then 2-5, and then stay there (to match the age of my child and to stay with the age group I liked best). Turned out we didn't have a baby as soon as we'd thought, I liked babies better than I expected, and I failed to consider that all my original two year olds would soon have baby siblings! So I ended up doing babies and toddlers for longer than planned. But my intention is still to keep the group (pretty much) within a three-year age span. That's the mixed-age group that works best for me with my goals for RE-inspired work. (My group is currently 2-5 most of the time, although I have school agers in the summer and during school closings.

Quote:
Can you give me some examples of materials you had for babies? At what age do you introduce art materials...paint, clay, collage materials, etc.
Sure. The interior photos I have posted in the decor forum are from when I first opened, with kids 2 months to 2 1/2 years. (Album here.) What you see is about what I had:
1st photo: kitchen set. Breakable dishes up high where the "big" kids could reach them. Below are lots of metal pots, pans, wooden spoons, etc. I'd often park the baby there to bang around while I worked in the kitchen.

2nd photo: toy shelf. Wooden peg puzzles, cardboard stacking blocks, wooden wheeled elephant, soft cloth dolls, ball squish thing (super popular!), wooden rattles, board books, vintage jingly wobbly things, teddy bear, alphabet blocks, push toy. (nearby and not pictured: huge stack of cardboard brick blocks)

3rd photo: studio shelves: I can't possibly say everything that's there, but on the lower shelves (i.e. most accessible to littles) were markers, paper, colored pencils, crayons, tape, stickers, chalk and chalkboards, paint (visible, but they couldn't really reach or open without help, so they did have to ask), scissors.

4th photo: opposite wall of studio: rocking boat/steps thing I once won at a conference! I wouldn't have bought this for my small space, but since I have it, we've used it well. Perfect for getting toddlers up to the window and for crawling practice and indoor gross motor activity. Mirrors above it. (Mirrors are a must-have in my book.) The cupboard to the left holds lots of recycled loose parts. For example, there's a large basket in there full of caps from all sorts of containers. They were one of the babies' favorite "toys"--they stack and nest and fall down and have lots of bright colors and you can poke clothespegs onto the sides of them and, and, and... I like open-ended non-toys like this a lot. Likewise, the big basket of pine cones on there got a lot of use.

5th photo: longer shot of studio. Easel--a must. See-through-plexiglass easel--even better. This was a favorite for toddlers, who liked to peek at each other through it. You can also get a peek of rhythm instruments, another big hit. And another mirror--fascinating for babies. Not seen, but also part of the studio then and very big to babies/toddlers: a push cart; scarves, bags, and hats for dress-up; and an overhead projector for light play (on the floor, projected up onto ceiling or walls).

6th photo: kitchen island. This photo shows a lot about what I wanted my program to be--not a classroom in a home, but a home designed with children in mind. Toys are incorporated into my regular space (with the exception of the studio, which is pretty much kid focused). Bottom shelf holds teethers (which I offered whenever I saw a kid mouthing something else I didn't want them to chew), ball-and-wire thing I used because I had it (I wouldn't recommend these--too closed and one purpose), wooden cars, wooden sorter, and wooden duck-on-a-ramp (again, not a must; I had it because it was a gift. We loved it, though.)

I generally had one baby, or sometimes two, and then the rest were toddlers. So I offered materials to the toddlers, and included the babies as they seemed ready. I tried to listen to what they were telling me. My first baby demanded to be included in painting at 8 months (by pulling himself up at the table where they were painting and grabbing a brush), and so he was (I could have done it earlier, but he seemed to nap when we were painting--or maybe that's all I could manage at that point, I don't remember). Scissors at 14 months--same way. But I had him poking his fingers into clay from my lap before he could sit up, and he had crayons and markers in his hands as soon as he could sit. He was included in art in other ways, too. For example, the toddlers would draw with markers on the overhead as he lay on the floor, watching the changing designs on the wall. As soon as he could crawl over there, he was in on it. I tried to offer things on the floor so he could participate: for example, rather than a sensory table, I use a large metal tray intended as a boot tray. When we put snow in it, I put it on the floor, and the older kids kneeled to use it, and he could drag himself over and reach in, too. But if I didn't want him doing something, it could go up on a table.

I'm just remembering that I still have my brainstorming lists of what I was looking for when I started. I'll attach them. My absolute must-haves for babies/toddlers: blocks, balls, teethers, push toys, containers w/stuff to dump and sort, dolls, paper, colored pencils, paint, clay, mirrors, lots of recycled stuff and natural stuff.

Man, I'm wordy! See how I need to write a book? :-) That's enough for now!
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:30 AM
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You're welcome! I have a few minutes, so I'll answer a bit and tackle the rest later. This is a good way to do your interview--I can get to it when I can get to it! :-)


Yes, me, too. My plan had been to start with 0-3 year olds, then do 1-4, then 2-5, and then stay there (to match the age of my child and to stay with the age group I liked best). Turned out we didn't have a baby as soon as we'd thought, I liked babies better than I expected, and I failed to consider that all my original two year olds would soon have baby siblings! So I ended up doing babies and toddlers for longer than planned. But my intention is still to keep the group (pretty much) within a three-year age span. That's the mixed-age group that works best for me with my goals for RE-inspired work. (My group is currently 2-5 most of the time, although I have school agers in the summer and during school closings.


Sure. The interior photos I have posted in the decor forum are from when I first opened, with kids 2 months to 2 1/2 years. (Album here.) What you see is about what I had:
1st photo: kitchen set. Breakable dishes up high where the "big" kids could reach them. Below are lots of metal pots, pans, wooden spoons, etc. I'd often park the baby there to bang around while I worked in the kitchen.

Are the older children generally good about keeping these things out of reach of the littles? Do you have to redirect the littles if they get in the way of a tea party, for instance?

I also see you have a lot of books in low places. How do you prevent a mobile infant from doing the old "sweep?"


2nd photo: toy shelf. Wooden peg puzzles, cardboard stacking blocks, wooden wheeled elephant, soft cloth dolls, ball squish thing (super popular!), wooden rattles, board books, vintage jingly wobbly things, teddy bear, alphabet blocks, push toy. (nearby and not pictured: huge stack of cardboard brick blocks)

So, if you have a mobile infant, do they just cruise around, pulling things out? What about the older children, is it clean-as-you-go, do you have a group clean up, or a blend? Do the kiddos drag things from one area to another? Making, lets say, "block soup?"

How often do you change out the toys? Do you provide a lot of guidance on how to use them? For instance, the stacking things...do you show them what they are for, or let them discover for themselves?


3rd photo: studio shelves: I can't possibly say everything that's there, but on the lower shelves (i.e. most accessible to littles) were markers, paper, colored pencils, crayons, tape, stickers, chalk and chalkboards, paint (visible, but they couldn't really reach or open without help, so they did have to ask), scissors.

What kind of jars are those on the upper shelves? Glass, right? How big are they?

4th photo: opposite wall of studio: rocking boat/steps thing I once won at a conference! I wouldn't have bought this for my small space, but since I have it, we've used it well. Perfect for getting toddlers up to the window and for crawling practice and indoor gross motor activity. Mirrors above it. (Mirrors are a must-have in my book.) The cupboard to the left holds lots of recycled loose parts. For example, there's a large basket in there full of caps from all sorts of containers. They were one of the babies' favorite "toys"--they stack and nest and fall down and have lots of bright colors and you can poke clothespegs onto the sides of them and, and, and... I like open-ended non-toys like this a lot. Likewise, the big basket of pine cones on there got a lot of use.

5th photo: longer shot of studio. Easel--a must. See-through-plexiglass easel--even better. This was a favorite for toddlers, who liked to peek at each other through it. You can also get a peek of rhythm instruments, another big hit. And another mirror--fascinating for babies. Not seen, but also part of the studio then and very big to babies/toddlers: a push cart; scarves, bags, and hats for dress-up; and an overhead projector for light play (on the floor, projected up onto ceiling or walls).

6th photo: kitchen island. This photo shows a lot about what I wanted my program to be--not a classroom in a home, but a home designed with children in mind. Toys are incorporated into my regular space (with the exception of the studio, which is pretty much kid focused). Bottom shelf holds teethers (which I offered whenever I saw a kid mouthing something else I didn't want them to chew), ball-and-wire thing I used because I had it (I wouldn't recommend these--too closed and one purpose), wooden cars, wooden sorter, and wooden duck-on-a-ramp (again, not a must; I had it because it was a gift. We loved it, though.)

I generally had one baby, or sometimes two, and then the rest were toddlers. So I offered materials to the toddlers, and included the babies as they seemed ready. I tried to listen to what they were telling me. My first baby demanded to be included in painting at 8 months (by pulling himself up at the table where they were painting and grabbing a brush), and so he was (I could have done it earlier, but he seemed to nap when we were painting--or maybe that's all I could manage at that point, I don't remember). Scissors at 14 months--same way. But I had him poking his fingers into clay from my lap before he could sit up, and he had crayons and markers in his hands as soon as he could sit. He was included in art in other ways, too. For example, the toddlers would draw with markers on the overhead as he lay on the floor, watching the changing designs on the wall. As soon as he could crawl over there, he was in on it. I tried to offer things on the floor so he could participate: for example, rather than a sensory table, I use a large metal tray intended as a boot tray. When we put snow in it, I put it on the floor, and the older kids kneeled to use it, and he could drag himself over and reach in, too. But if I didn't want him doing something, it could go up on a table.

I'm just remembering that I still have my brainstorming lists of what I was looking for when I started. I'll attach them. My absolute must-haves for babies/toddlers: blocks, balls, teethers, push toys, containers w/stuff to dump and sort, dolls, paper, colored pencils, paint, clay, mirrors, lots of recycled stuff and natural stuff.

Man, I'm wordy! See how I need to write a book? :-) That's enough for now!
You're wordy....ha ha! Oh...where do the children eat? At the "big" table with boosters and such, or do you have a small one?
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:33 AM
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Thanks for the all info. ladies! Well, after doing research I have come to a conclusion that this teaching style isn't totally for me. I will incorporate some of the Reggio ways of teaching/learning, but it will be mixed in with other ways too. I really am inspired by nothingwithoutjoy, I just don't see myself being as "open/free" as you (if that makes sense). Thank you all again for sharing with me!
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:49 AM
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Thanks for the all info. ladies! Well, after doing research I have come to a conclusion that this teaching style isn't totally for me. I will incorporate some of the Reggio ways of teaching/learning, but it will be mixed in with other ways too. I really am inspired by nothingwithoutjoy, I just don't see myself being as "open/free" as you (if that makes sense). Thank you all again for sharing with me!
You're welcome.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:16 AM
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Are the older children generally good about keeping these things out of reach of the littles? Do you have to redirect the littles if they get in the way of a tea party, for instance?
They make a good attempt, but I had to keep a close eye. What they're really good at is telling me when the babies do something they shouldn't--they love being the big kid who knows better. And yes, I was usually wherever the baby was, to intervene if necessary and to keep a close eye. But I could leave the room for a few minutes to pee or cook or something.

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I also see you have a lot of books in low places. How do you prevent a mobile infant from doing the old "sweep?"
When my kids were mostly little, the books were mostly board books. I would model careful use and would put things away if they were heaping up and in danger of getting trampled, but I wanted books in their hands, so I wasn't obsessive about it. I rarely had a child just clear the shelf, and if I did, I'd calmly replace them, explaining they should go there to keep them safe and reminding them to choose the ones they wanted to read. I only remember 2 times when a child deliberately tore a book. Books are sacred in this house, and they learn it quickly! But as with most things, I think kids pretty much live up to our expectations. I give them beautiful things and trust that they'll treat them well; they see that trust and try their best. (For the same reason, if books get torn or a flap is missing, I mend it right away or remove it.)

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So, if you have a mobile infant, do they just cruise around, pulling things out?
Yup. That's partly why there are so few toys. If pulling out every single toy would overwhelm the room, then there are too many toys. It's also why I wouldn't want an infant now--I have way too many toys out and they'd hear "no" all the time: yuk.

Quote:
What about the older children, is it clean-as-you-go, do you have a group clean up, or a blend? Do the kiddos drag things from one area to another? Making, lets say, "block soup?"
Yes, lots of block soup and huge messes. I should post a mid-day picture! I don't generally do clean-as-you-go for a few reasons. First, I don't want to interrupt the flow of their play. I want focus and long attention spans, and I sabotage those if I have constant interruptions. Second, I think mixing toys (block soup) is far more valuable than you-must-use-it-this-way. In fact, I have no "food" in my kitchen at all, because I prefer them to use their creativity. Creativity is higher on my priorities than neatness. Third, if a child starts something (maybe a block building) and abandons it to move on to something else, someone else might see it and get inspired to add to it--maybe even someone who wouldn't have thought to use blocks otherwise. I love the "conversation" that happens through materials that way. We clean up before moving on to the next major thing (going outside, or nap, or going home). But I do do a lot of tidying myself around them as they play, not the stuff they're actively using or have left in some interesting set-up, but the stuff in the way. And if they've just heaped a bunch of stuff and are off to heap somewhere else, I'll sometimes ask them to put some stuff away first, especially if it makes it hard to move around.

Quote:
How often do you change out the toys?
It varies. Favorite things might stay there for months. Some things are always there. Other things I move out as I see they're not being used, or to make space for a new interest, maybe every few weeks. For example, there's recently been a lot of interest in letters, so I added scrabble tiles and alphabet cards and put away a few things to make room. I'll often set up something intriguing (a "provocation") on the coffee table, and that might change every few days, based on how they respond.

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Do you provide a lot of guidance on how to use them? For instance, the stacking things...do you show them what they are for, or let them discover for themselves?
No. I'll intervene if I think what they're doing is unsafe for others or for the material, but otherwise, open-ended exploration.

Quote:
What kind of jars are those on the upper shelves? Glass, right? How big are they?
Mostly vintage quart canning jars, because I happened to have a lot. I'd prefer something bigger for some things, but mostly, that's a good size. Also, canning jars are strong and don't easily break. (6 1/2 years and they haven't broken one yet.)

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Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
Oh...where do the children eat? At the "big" table with boosters and such, or do you have a small one?
Oh, yeah, I should photograph that. We don't have space for a kitchen table, but I have two fold-up tables (similar to this) on the kitchen wall at kid height, with kid-sized chairs. Infants ate on my lap until they could sit unsupported, then sat in a chair with a fabric seat-belt sort of thing until they could sit without it.

Haven't forgotten your other questions. Will get there! :-)
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:54 AM
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nwj, I run my house similar to yours. I too let the kids take things out and clean up just before we go outside or have lunch. I have seen kids drop something and another one pick up. I've seen my littles play in the kitchen (funny how they don't really talk but they understand each other) and I don't want to interrupt that.

I too have so many books, and I think if you teach them, they will treat the books right (they are sacred in this house too) I also found that by putting chairs near the reading areas the kids would sit and pick a book out even the littles do this.

I've downsized my stuff but I now have a house for everything. Everything has a place. I found that if they have too much stuff to choose then they make too big of a mess and don't want to put it away.

I have a ikea table that the kids eat at (and do art and color) once you can sit still you can sit at the table otherwise my littles would not eat.

the only difference is that I do a mix group, I find that the older kids should learn how to play with the little kids and vice versa. Also, I find that the older kids start to use their voice and tell the littles "no" which is big because some kids just wouldn't talk at all.

I use to do a very structured home (ok, food and nap are still routine) but I started to find that I was so exhausted that it wasn't fun anymore. And the kids where all over the place and the parents didn't care. So now I focus more on kids being kids and learning activities of daily living, like putting a coat on or wiping their own nose (thats a big one and even the littles love to do this) and manners
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:02 PM
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nwj, I run my house similar to yours.
Nice to meet you, countrymom!
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the only difference is that I do a mix group, I find that the older kids should learn how to play with the little kids and vice versa.
Oh, I agree--and it feels more natural to have a mix of ages--like a family. I do have mixed ages, just older ones right now (2-8). They started 0-3.

Quote:
I use to do a very structured home (ok, food and nap are still routine) but I started to find that I was so exhausted that it wasn't fun anymore. And the kids where all over the place and the parents didn't care. So now I focus more on kids being kids and learning activities of daily living, like putting a coat on or wiping their own nose (thats a big one and even the littles love to do this) and manners
That's my structure, too--food and nap are scheduled. Fun and being a kid and daily life are the focus, with lots of built-in learning. :-)
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:55 AM
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Default How I do lesson planning w/in Reggio-inspired program

All, right, Heidi, the kids are asleep and I have a few minutes, so I'm going to tackle the lesson plan question. Might have to start now, finish later.
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If you were required to document "lesson plans" or "activity plans" (to get 4 or 5 stars here, we do), how could you do that?...When you document, do you use anything like this?
I am required to do so. I'll attach the document I've made and tweaked over the years, which allows me to plan ahead enough to make them happy, while leaving space for the emerging curriculum that shifts from day to day. (I've come to call it my "projection sheet," which I've borrowed but forgot the source. It implies "projects" in the Reggio sense, steps away from the idea that I've planned down to the last detail what's going to happen, and gets rid of the concept of me sitting them down for "lessons.") But I have to explain that this document in itself is only a shadow of the planning and documentation I do. When my licensor looks at these, she's also looking at the daily journals (now blog posts) I send the families, which flesh out the ideas on this form.

I think the kind of form you included can be useful in college classes, to make sure that you're thinking intentionally, that you are well prepared, that you know why you're doing what you're doing, etc. But in my experience, in the real world, most of that stuff is done quickly in your head, and if you spent all the time it would take to fill all that out, you'd never have time for the richer documentation that is a part of Reggio-inspired teaching. Not only that, but you can't truly "plan" what a child is going to learn. You might plan to use magnetic alphabet letters with the idea that kids will learn to write their names, but actually find that someone doesn't want to play with them, someone else wants to sort them by color, someone else is intrigued by the patterns they can make with them, etc. And to me, what they're doing with them is far more important for them and has richer potential for learning than your pre-conceived ideas. In Reggio, a lot of the documentation comes after the fact. So you put out the letters and you watch and take photos and notes and reading them over later, you notice lots of pattern play was taking place. So you write about that pattern work for the parents, and then you support further exploration of patterns with the children, and continue observing and taking notes and reflecting and documenting.

I can't share most of my documentation here, because some of the parents would prefer I not share their children's photos online. But I'll find a few examples that don't include faces, and a filled-in projection sheet, so you can see how I use them. Don't have time now, but will get to it soon. And to your question about activities w/infants.

:-) Lise
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:12 AM
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All, right, Heidi, the kids are asleep and I have a few minutes, so I'm going to tackle the lesson plan question. Might have to start now, finish later.

I am required to do so. I'll attach the document I've made and tweaked over the years, which allows me to plan ahead enough to make them happy, while leaving space for the emerging curriculum that shifts from day to day. (I've come to call it my "projection sheet," which I've borrowed but forgot the source. It implies "projects" in the Reggio sense, steps away from the idea that I've planned down to the last detail what's going to happen, and gets rid of the concept of me sitting them down for "lessons.") But I have to explain that this document in itself is only a shadow of the planning and documentation I do. When my licensor looks at these, she's also looking at the daily journals (now blog posts) I send the families, which flesh out the ideas on this form.

I think the kind of form you included can be useful in college classes, to make sure that you're thinking intentionally, that you are well prepared, that you know why you're doing what you're doing, etc. But in my experience, in the real world, most of that stuff is done quickly in your head, and if you spent all the time it would take to fill all that out, you'd never have time for the richer documentation that is a part of Reggio-inspired teaching. Not only that, but you can't truly "plan" what a child is going to learn. You might plan to use magnetic alphabet letters with the idea that kids will learn to write their names, but actually find that someone doesn't want to play with them, someone else wants to sort them by color, someone else is intrigued by the patterns they can make with them, etc. And to me, what they're doing with them is far more important for them and has richer potential for learning than your pre-conceived ideas. In Reggio, a lot of the documentation comes after the fact. So you put out the letters and you watch and take photos and notes and reading them over later, you notice lots of pattern play was taking place. So you write about that pattern work for the parents, and then you support further exploration of patterns with the children, and continue observing and taking notes and reflecting and documenting.

I can't share most of my documentation here, because some of the parents would prefer I not share their children's photos online. But I'll find a few examples that don't include faces, and a filled-in projection sheet, so you can see how I use them. Don't have time now, but will get to it soon. And to your question about activities w/infants.

:-) Lise
THank you!

That fit's exactly into how I do things, although I don't document quite as much as I should.

An example would be we are sitting at the breakfast table, and we see that the bluejays are out and about. So, we start talking about how pretty the bluejays are. The bluejay screeches, so I might say "Did you hear that?" Then I might pull up a Youtube video about bird songs. Or, maybe we will count aloud how many bluejays are out there. Or, maybe we get out our field guide (I have a great one with pictures), and find out bluejay facts. That might lead to a discussion about other birds, etc.

Last March, we pinned up a piece of paper and every time we saw a new bird migrate back, we wrote it down (I wrote it down, but narrated every word). Then, we'd look it up in the field guide and find out more. Everyone, toddlers to 4 yo, was engaged in this activity, and it became such a fun thing for them.

I could have expanded that into drawing the birds, probably should have, but I think that would have been too much for that particular group, mostly 1 yo, plus a 3 yo and 4 yo.

It will be challenging to me to do the above activity sheets for my class, because it goes against how I think. Never mind that come March 15, I will have 3-4 infants under age 1 here every day.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:24 AM
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THank you!
You're welcome!

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That fit's exactly into how I do things, although I don't document quite as much as I should.

An example would be we are sitting at the breakfast table, and we see that the bluejays are out and about. So, we start talking about how pretty the bluejays are. The bluejay screeches, so I might say "Did you hear that?" Then I might pull up a Youtube video about bird songs. Or, maybe we will count aloud how many bluejays are out there. Or, maybe we get out our field guide (I have a great one with pictures), and find out bluejay facts. That might lead to a discussion about other birds, etc.
Yes, exactly.

Quote:
Last March, we pinned up a piece of paper and every time we saw a new bird migrate back, we wrote it down (I wrote it down, but narrated every word). Then, we'd look it up in the field guide and find out more. Everyone, toddlers to 4 yo, was engaged in this activity, and it became such a fun thing for them.

I could have expanded that into drawing the birds, probably should have, but I think that would have been too much for that particular group, mostly 1 yo, plus a 3 yo and 4 yo.
Maybe then, don't tell yourself "should have." The cool thing about "the hundred languages of children" is that there are so many ways for kids to represent what they know, and it doesn't have to be drawing. When my daughter was 1, she was super interested in watching seagulls smash mussels and sea urchins on the beach. I set out toy birds and real shells on the coffee table, and she "told" the other kids what she knew by playing it out with a word or two here and there. Just as valid as drawing.

Quote:
It will be challenging to me to do the above activity sheets for my class, because it goes against how I think. Never mind that come March 15, I will have 3-4 infants under age 1 here every day.
Maybe your professor will surprise you. I had a student teacher here once, and her professor was here observing when we were outside playing in a big leaf pile one day. Her professor encouraged her to tell the rest of her class about "the leaf activity."

Now, I'd better go free them from nap!
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:10 PM
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NWOJ-

Does your overhead projector get hot?

Where did you find one? I don't think they are used in schools much anymore?
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:50 PM
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NWOJ-

Does your overhead projector get hot?

Where did you find one? I don't think they are used in schools much anymore?
This is the second one I've owned (we broke the first one, which I liked better, darn it.) I got both on ebay. The first one was a major deal (can't remember-maybe $20?) The next a little more. But if you're lucky, you can get one on freecycle.com or at a school auction as schools get rid of them.

(Just looked--I think this one is similar to the one I used to have and liked a lot.)

Yes, it gets hot (curiously, this newer one gets hotter than the really old one I used to have). Not so hot that if they touch it they'll get burned, but if you put your hand on the top (not the glass, but up by the mirror) for a long time, it's definitely hot. But they learn quickly, since it does feel hot enough that you don't want to stay there! When I had it on the floor with crawling babies, I always stayed close. When kids who are secure on their feet are using it, and we've talked about it, I feel safe letting them play. (It's low, and they're allowed to turn it on when they want it. I turn it off if no one's using it, so it doesn't get too hot.)
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:34 PM
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I am hoping to do my Practicum 3 at a Regio program. I am particularly interested in using it with infants and toddlers, and the transitioning full-blown as they grow
That's what I'm interested in too - will you share what you learn? (Pretty please?
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:08 PM
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So glad you asked this! I've been spending all day researching Reggio Emilia & Waldorf styles. I love the looks ( & drooled over Nothingwithoutjoy's rooms), though I prefer bright colours. I like the emphasis on natural materials, as we primarily use wooden toys here, though we do have a few plastic ones, including our outdoor jungle gym. The wooden, natural stuff goes along with my crunchy sensibilities. OK, now I'm going to actually go read the thread. I was just excited that someone else was on my wavelength today.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:53 PM
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I'd love to know what you think of Waldorf. I haven't researched it at all, so all I know about it is that gnomes are really popular.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyKidsCo View Post
I'd love to know what you think of Waldorf. I haven't researched it at all, so all I know about it is that gnomes are really popular.
And fairies.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:27 AM
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This post is beyond helpful as I work towards setting up my Reggio-based program. I can't even comment yet because I'm still digesting all the amazing information. Thanks so much!!
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