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My original idea was that every Wednesday, people could link up and share what they had done that was Malaguzzi inspired...emergent projects that developed either in the classroom, in the community, or in the homeschool setting.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, it was founded by Loris Malaguzzi and some mothers who wanted something better for their children's education in Italy years ago.
The Reggio Emilia is not a specific set of materials or a curriculum; rather, it is an approach to early learning guided by the following principles (Source for this summary: Wikipedia):
- Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
- Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing;
- Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore and
- Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
- The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment at the center of its philosophy.
- Another key component is that: Parents are a vital component to the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children.
In our homeschool, we tend to do a Montessori work period in the morning and then, do more Malaguzzi inspired projects and fun, play based things in the afternoon.
The holiday season is a perfect time for projects to emerge that are created and directed by children but that are then fully supported by the community...
So, for instance, if a child wants to do some sort of a community service project, and comes up with the idea to make holiday decorations for a place such as a nursing home or shelter, or to create and then donate a gingerbread creation to an organization then, it is the parents' role to make this a reality for the child by helping to collaborate with the community to find out how this project can be carried out and how each child can actively participate in the project.
Our family tradition here is to make Christmas ornaments and gingerbread houses for local charities. It is up to Big Bro and Little Bro to figure out what they would like to make.
Then, it is up to me to reach out into our community to see who wants these sorts of donations.
Well, this year, we are very excited, as for the first time ever, we are going to be participating in a gingerbread and peppermint house contest, called Winterland of Gingerbread where all money raised to enter the event will go to some very worthwhile nonprofit organizations, including Alex's Lemonade Stand and Little Red Wagon Foundation.
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We visited the St. Nicholas Center's lovely website and did many of the activities from this site.
Their website has some great resources, including information about How St. Nicholas' feast day is celebrated around the world, as well as some neat ideas for crafts, some great recipes to try, and some fun pages for children. Then, the boys put out their shoes so that we could re-enact the idea of having some treats from St.Nicholas. They loved opening their little gifts and seemed to be even more excited about the idea of then doing nice things for others in our community.
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Little Bro completed his gingerbread house. Big Bro has the bottom portion of his peppermint candy house completed, but still has more work to do...this has been a great project for Big Bro, as he has had to rethink his plan for a peppermint house...he initially wanted to use plastic cups stacked in a pyramid formation as this base for his peppermint castle, but that proved to be challenging to get the candy to adhere to the plastic cups...
Since Dear Hubby was at home for part of the time while Santa's Little Helpers were busy with their sweet creations, he was able to help pose a few questions to get them to think about their work. He also offered a few suggestions as they were working, and lent a hand when they needed someone to give them a little help with things. It has been very nice to have Daddy involved with our ongoing holiday projects.
So, this is where we are at...we are in full swing and are everything is due to be completed in time for the upcoming gingerbread event, Winterland of Gingerbread. This neat event is being sponsored by K12.
This post in linked up to the We Play Links at Childhood 101. If you have done a festive, fun project and have linked up over at Childhood 101, please feel free to also link up here to my Reggio Emilia Wednesday Linky - Theme: Holiday Fun & Community Service Projects for Little Ones.
We also linked up to Holiday Fun 2010 over at Our Worldwide Classroom.
|Little Bro checking out the goodies left in his shoes for St. Nicholas Day.|
|Big Bro checking out the goodies left in his shoe for St. Nicholas Day.|
|Little Bro having a blast decorating his gingerbread house.|
|Santa's Little Helper is happy that his gingerbread creation is complete and is looking forward to sharing his house with others. 12/15 Update: Little Bro's friends from Raccoon School made a gingerbread house, too.|
|Big Bro trying to get his peppermint house to stay together as a solid structure...|
|Little Bro's sparkly art card to go with his gingerbread house...|
|Little Bro made two of these cards so that Big Bro could have a sparkly card to go with his peppermint house.|
|Little Bro's painting of St. Nick...|
Please link up to share your holiday projects for Reggio Emilia Wednesday.