I haven't done very much research into the Reggio approach it has tended to be something I'd like to have a look at but never got around to doing. So this opportunity really appealed to me. The approach is one that allows children to have more time to discover and experience the world in their own time rather than sticking to the rigid schedules we sometimes have. The videos and information we received from the schools, kindergartens and early learning centres that are using this approach is very valuable.
One of the things that I think all the teachers who were there took away from the course was the idea of morning walks. Many of our junior classrooms can now be seen walking around our tree covered areas during oral language time in morning. I've only managed to venture out once but have enjoyed the rich talk that comes from just taking time to experience and allowing the children to 'play' rather than be told what they are looking for or doing while they are outside.
A theme of the presentations was children's right to nature, their right to get outside, get dirty, wet, cold, fall over and generally have fun with their surroundings. It is so important to give our kids these times as many of them haven't had the chance to feel dirt, grass, water in the outdoors, many children have been stuck in front of a television for too long. The approach isn't about throwing everything else out, it is still important to have an intent to the experience, discussion and debate before hand about what the children might see, do, experience while they are out on their walk still remains important. It's also important to record those experiences through stories, the learning stories we were able to see over the course of the day were inspiring and really showed the child's learning from their point of view as well as the teachers assessment of their learning.
I didn't take too many notes over the day but here are the mind maps I created during the presentation. I also took photos during the day but I won't post those here as I haven't requested permission to do so. There are a wonderful array of links to more information on the REANZ blog that were mentioned on the day as well as a great smilebox of photos that were taken over the course of the day.