My learning journey this year focuses on exploring early years learning through a Reggio approach in different parts of the world. I am curious to see what early years learning looks like by observing learning spaces, materials, and teacher philosophies.
During my time in Auckland I had the opportunity to visit Symonds Street Early Childhood Centre, a learning centre that provides Reggio inspired education to students 2.5 – 5 years of age. Just like Canada, the program is a continuous flow for students meaning that they are in the same learning environment for the duration of the early years program. This allows for a natural flow of learning experiences from one year to the next.
The outdoor garden is a great example of student centred learning. Students here are able to observe plants grow, pick vegetables and herbs as well as learn to take care of the garden.
Wood pallets were used to create a wall garden where students planted herbs and other small plants. The use of outdoor space was amazing!
The outdoor area also features a building table where with supervision, students are able to experiment with materials and tools as well as build their own creations.
It was so interesting to see wood sculptures created by students at the building area. These two creations are birthday cakes.
This building area features blocks of all shapes and sizes. One of the key features of the Reggio approach is the use of open ended materials which can be used to build endless creations.
In another learning area, students were exploring geodes. By observing and exploring objects of interest, students can communicate their wonderings, observations and ideas to teachers. This is a great example of authentic learning opportunities.
Student learning is displayed as part of documentation panels (also known as learning stories) where conversations, observations and wonderings are documented about a specific topic. This student was drawing his observations about nature and learning how to use different shades of green to accurately represent what he saw.
It was such a great experience to be able to visit and learn from the staff and students at Symonds Street Early Childhood Centre. The learning environment was so inspiring, I can’t wait to use some of them in own classroom next year.