I am still in the process of learning about these little folks who will be a part of my life for the next ten months or so, and finding the red thread that we will follow as we follow our path together. For now I’m finding a link to math as we are exploring common attributes. In math we are looking at buttons, and sorting them according to common attributes. Some of the buttons are round, some have two holes, some are small, some are red… Buttons give us an ideal venue to find similarities and differences, so Reggio has stretched my boundaries. We have asked each child to go home with a paper bag (not huge, just sandwich size) to find some treasures they could donate to our class studio.
When they come back to school at the end of next week, we are hoping for a range of materials—corks, bottle tops, ribbon, screws…you name it. Then we will put the children in groups and let them sort the things they have shared. We have a quantity of clear plastic tubs that they can use as they group the materials they have found. There could be a tub of round things, a tub of ribbons, a tub of things made of plastic, a tub of things that are made of metal…The possibilities are endless! This will expand our work in math as we stretch beyond buttons and attribute blocks to find similarities and differences, and perhaps it will help lead us to the red thread that we can follow as this school year progresses.
I have done this kind of thing before as I asked parents to send it the things they want to send our way, but without the parameters of sorting. When I would ask parents to send in those beautiful and random items, they would dutifully respond, sending in a big bag of stuff that I then felt responsible for using. With the sorting, the materials are organized, they are accessible to the children, and the children have ownership of the beautiful stuff. As we give the children the job of sorting, they gain understanding of the materials, they discover common traits as they work to put the items together, and they know what is available when they are looking for supplies for art work. The Reggio experience is present here in the beginning of the school year with this new batch of little ones, and their year will be richer for that time in Italy.