Back in the saddle here in Charlotte, and Reggio continues to buzz around my head. It was wonderful to be back with my children, especially after thinking so strongly during the past week in Italy. The children are completely involved with watching the metamorphosis of the butterflies in our butterfly cage that we started before I left. On Wednesday, the first of the butterflies emerged, and the energy and excitement in our classroom was overwhelming. We watched the butterflies, along with some earthworms that we had observed in science on Monday. One of my first questions was, “How many legs are on the butterfly?” The answers were all over the map, but most of the children thought there were four legs, and I have to admit that it was hard to observe the other legs. After Reggio, I found it much easier to hold my tongue, and to give the children the opportunity to find out for themselves the answer to the question. We talked about insects, thinking about what we knew about the number of legs for each insect, and some of the children wondered if butterflies would qualify as insects. We looked at both the butterfly and the earthworm under the Elmo to see if we were better able to identify characteristics. We soon released the butterflies, but weren’t still sure about the number of legs. This week we will continue to probe this question, but I really want the children to find the answer on their own, with little input from me except for providing books as research material.
When we think about constructivist learning, we are looking for ways to give the children the opportunity to find their own answers to their questions, and this looks as if it may be that kind of situation. During the next two weeks we will be thinking about eggs and all of those creatures that hatch from eggs. In Reggio, inquiries last for an extended period of time, and as our school year is quickly drawing to a close, we don’t have that luxury. We’ll do our best to make an examination of eggs and all those creatures that hatchfrom eggs as in-depth as we are able. We have to remember that during this same time we’ll be working on poetry for our Poetry Reading on May 1 as well as books for our Grandfriends on May 9. Lots is going on, and from what I have learned from the time in Italy, we need to provide children with the opportunity to dive deeply into a subject rather that to skim the surface for the most immediate information.