Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reggio Emilia Wednesday: Environment as the 3rd Teacher & Giveaway #5

One of the key tenets of the Reggio Emilia approach is that the environment of the child is the "Third Teacher"...

How Dear Hubby and I have interpreted that for our family and our boys is that our home should be inviting, comfortable,  and somewhat orderly with a wide variety of materials to encourage the boys to think, to create, and to expand upon their interests...
We also have to think of the larger picture in terms of "thinking globally and acting locally"...
Since we live in Florida,we need to keep in mind the environment that our boys are in contact with day-to-day...we might try to explore other climates and other environments but our day-to-day is here...pretty tropical, sunny much of the time, loads of flora and fauna to explore.
What we are not in contact with day-to-day is the cold, snowy environment during winter time that Dear Hubby and I grew up in, went to school in, etc.
We have not been in a snowy environment in over four years.
Little Bro was a tiny baby the last time we were in a cold, snowy place during winter time. 
Little Bro really, truly does not have a concept of snow. He actually refers to Parmesan cheese as "snow". When we have gotten photos from friends showing their children playing in the snow, he comments how it looks like they are having fun playing in foam. Why foam? Well, in Celebration, Florida, which is a reasonably short road trip from where we live, they cover part of their shopping district with white foam during a few weeks in December. Then, children can play in this foam, can take horse drawn rides on the streets, all the while surrounded by this fake stuff that is similar to shaving cream. They go all out and even have cotton batting on some of the roofs to look like snow...still looks like cotton batting, but they do at least try to make it look like a northern wintry scene.
When Little Bro has seen picture books depicting children wearing scarves, he routinely will say something about "the rope around their neck" or "the extra sleeve they hang on the hooks when they hang up their jackets"...
He does not automatically distinguish mittens from gloves, snow pants from overalls, and could not properly explain how a toboggan works, what snow shoes do when you put them on your feet, or how plastic bread bags can be of any help if you plan to go sledding.

I have had to do a bit of a shift since we have lived here, for my childhood environment is so vastly different than my sons here...

 Also, have had to work to get up to speed about what you can and cannot do with a palm frond, how you should not walk across the grass in your bare feet and whatever you do, you should not roll on the lawn, as it could either contain fire ants or if it is in the winter, when St. Augustine Grass goes dormant, it turns into the most prickly feeling stuff and is like stepping into a pile of splinters...ouch!!!

So, how does a northern mama who grew up used to "lake effect snow" and "wind chill advisories" as regular winter happenings deal with this environment so that this environment can be the third teacher for her southern born sons who view anything below 70 as "sweater weather"???

Well, simply put, I have to learn about our Floridian environment as the boys learn about it too...and so does Dear Hubby. 

Well, hope that you have enjoyed this Reggio-Emilia inspired post...
If you have a post that you would like to share that deals with having to shift your thinking to make your children's environment their third teacher, please add your linky. 
Or, if your children have been working on a Reggio-Emilia inspired project, please be sure to share. 
Would also love to hear from folks who try to integrate Reggio Emilia into their Montessori programs or Montessori into their Reggio Emilia programs, or any combination of these.  
For starters, I am adding the Linkys from last week, in case any of you missed these...but hope that we will get some new link ups from my readers. Am also linking up some neat information about a program that is going to be offered soon in Illinois. The presenter, JH Helm, highlights Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Godly Play, and Project Based Learning, so I found it to be an interesting read and if we lived close enough for me to easily attend, I would wanna go for sure...if any of you live or can easily travel to attend this workshop, sounds pretty cool...may wanna check it out for yourself.
Also, am providing a Linky to the Learning Materials Workshop Blog, as Learning Materials Workshop is  endorsed as an Official Reggio Emilia Resource. They have started to do workshops in conjunction with AMS. If you contact them and order from them, please tell them that you were directed from a Linky on Sunrise Learning Lab. I love their products and would love, love, love to be able to attend one of their workshops. Their Linky to the blog is in the Linky section of this post and the link to their Reggio Emilia inspired store, is in the Links in the link bar above the header of my blog. Learning Materials Workshop makes the most interesting beautiful looking block sets that I have ever seen. In addition, they sell other wonderful resources about the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.

Also, for today's Whole Lotta Love Giveaway:
Neat plane construction kit from Alison's Montessori. 
Plugged the Geometric Solids and Plane Figures from Alison's Premium Quality Line  during the time frame of this giveaway, as they deserved to be plugged and I was just thrilled to have won them from Montessori for Everyone
Am providing links to Alison's Montessori Premium Line as well as Montessori for Everyone because I was impressed at how professionally this giveaway was conducted and how cool it was to win from them!
I did not have to give one of the plane construction kits away, as they actually mailed both kits for my sons, but since we have been so blessed to have won the beautiful Premium Quality Geometric Solids and Plane Figures from Alison's, I wanted to share the love and give one of the two plane construction kits to a public follower or subscriber of my blog to just say thanks for being a reader of Sunrise Learning Lab. The opinions I have expressed are my honest opinions and this is something that I chose to do and was not asked or required to do.

The winner of this giveaway, as chosen by Random.Org,  is comment #2, Jennifer. 
Congrats to Jennifer!

Here is part of Jennifer's comment:
Well, if Big Bro loved it, I have a feeling my Ryan will love it as well. He's so mechanically inclined... LEGOS, blocks, even sculpture... he absolutely loves building with his hands! As for the environment as a teacher, we'll we've go about 3 inches of snow and counting outside... so my FL-born boys are learning about environmental differences as well...
This giveaway had ended and comments on this post are now closed. 

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