A Red Thread

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One of my take-aways from Reggio Emilia is that we look for a “red thread” of interest that we then follow with the children. We are currently following a “red thread’ of interest in eggs and of all the creatures that hatch from eggs. We began with birds, for they are our most obvious oviparous creatures, since we look at the eggs that the chickens offer us that are so easily accessed in the grocery stores. All of the children have observed bird nests in their yards, and some have watched the hatching of baby birds in nests in their yards.

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Part of Reggio is providing the children with the opportunity to explore a range of activities that will stretch their imaginations as well as their understanding. From creating “eggs” of papier mache to building a nest on our science table, we are thinking about all that is involved in hatching eggs. We have an incubator that is home for 12 fertilized eggs, and we are checking the temperature as well as the humidity of the incubator to make sure that eggs have the optimum environment to produce baby chicks. We are also learning about other creatures that come from eggs, such as reptiles, butterflies, insects, and amphibians. The children will construct from clay creatures that could hatch from the eggs they have made.

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When we think about the thread that we could follow with a look at eggs, our thread could snake around to focus on reptiles, or the thread could lead us to an in-depth look at the camouflage of eggs, or could evolve into a study of nests. This is one of the beauties of the Reggio Emilia approach, in the fluidity of the evolution of the studies undertaken. The interests of the children help create the shape of the study, which is constructivist education at the core. With one study, such as our beginning with eggs, we have the opportunity to involve writing, art, reading, and science as we are writing poetry about eggs, reading about eggs, watching the incubation of eggs, and creating eggs and nests. This wholistic approach is one that children embrace, for it is the way in which they approach life. For young children, life is not compartmentalized into separate disciplines, but flows as an organic whole, and they are able to see the whole picture.

3 thoughts on “A Red Thread

  1. Friends of the TES Family of Learning,

    I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to have Linda return to our ‘home/nest’ after her 10 day adventure to Reggio Emilio, thanks to the brilliant “Light the Fire” grant from Trinity. With good wine and exquisite authentic reggio parmeasean cheese (She had 3 lbs in her suitcase), we engaged in an initial 2 hour sparkling discussion of the attributes, experiences and energizing power of this approach to early childhood education. That reconnective afternoon felt like we were immersed in a ‘TED talk’ . Truth be told, childhood education was our first and most lasting common ground as we began to join our minds and hearts in what has become a fascinating 30 year marriage to each other and the ideas that continue to astound us.

    Linda was already a light year or two ahead of me as I was dancing freely in what could be actually described as a ‘Reggio Emilio-styled’ Interdisciplinary Arts Immersion Program at UNCC (1977-’79). Called a BCA degree (Bachelor of Creative Arts), we interacted with fellow students outside our Majors (Dance/Education for me) in weekly PIPS peer discussion groups (Perception, Interaction & Problem Solving). Students from Visual Arts, Music, Clay, Dance, Theater & Writing freely associated from their respective POVs. This multidisciplinary experiment in education (it ended in 1980) demanded that we go out from our chosen area of study into History, Science, Philosophy, Engineering and a host of other subjects in order to more deeply inform our studies.

    This is the “red thread” of which Linda speaks. Your children at TES are gaining experientially based knowledge gathered by their sensory apparatus (physio-emotional) and processed by their mainframe (cognitive intelligence). This is an explosive phase of a person’s cognitive development that sets the stage for Life. Experts contend that the more realtime experiences the more expansive neural pathways network is etched in the developing brain. Linda understands this learning process better than anyone I know. She found that golden classroom by following the magical thread to Reggio Emilio. Now she returns recharged with new insights to further inspire your children to be courageous, compassionate learners in ‘pursuit of the possible’.

    In addition, she has now begun to write beyond her beloved narratives that help you to ‘see’ how and why your Kindergarteners are emerging into the ‘life long learners’ that you want them to be. This ‘blog’ process I think is on the job training that will catapult her into writing as a second career(if she ever retires…this being her 40th year!!) Last week as part of their ‘eggperience’, I got to bring the egg collection I received as a gift from a close friend of my maternal grandfather who assembled this treasure trove as a boy almost 100 years ago. And of course this study has presented your children with one of the fundamental philosophical inquiries of the humans’ existence: Which came first…….?

    Enjoy following your child’s ‘threads’ as they weave their final month together in Linda Minor’s Sandbox of Important Play……Kindergarten!

    Follow the Gleam, Hardin Minor

  2. Linda- I’m loving your insights… With a new grandchild in my life, I’m reliving the experience of having a young person in my life again. All your writings are an inspiration!!! Thank you! Keep ’em coming! Oxox Ann

  3. Beautiful, Linda! I’d love to do something with hummingbird eggs with your children! The approach you are following with the children is PERFECT!

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