Category Archives: Elm House Blog

A Spark of Interest

by Megan

I want you to think back, way back, to when you were a child. Did you have a favorite toy? Did you have an interest so strong that you devoted all of your spare time to an activity? Ok, now that you’ve got that one thing in the forefront of your mind, I want you to think of who or what was responsible for introducing you to your most beloved toy, or your favorite activity, or your collection. Was it a grandparent, a teacher, an child down the street? What sparked your interest, or piqued your curious mind? Often, we don’t give credit where credit is due. Where am I going with this, you ask? Is this a going to be a blog crediting teachers with all the sparks?! Absolutely not! In fact, I want to communicate the opposite. I feel like our parents at Elm House give their children such novel, interesting and amazing experiences outside of school that we have so many threads of learning to connect. We have so many strands to follow.

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Blueberry & Raspberry Exploration

by Megan

Our very well cared for gardens have been repaying us with a bounty of flowers, vegetables and fruits. The children have just noticed in the past week that the raspberry bush finally has ripe fruit on it! They have been exploring the bramble, reaching up high, crawling down low-and using some cooperative tactics to pick these beautiful berries. I would say that they might be berry obsessed with the raspberries and our healthy blueberry bush.

All of the berry worship got me thinking that it might be fun to pay homage to the fruit brambles, via representation on paint and paper. After a few good reads of one of our crowd favorites, Jamberry by Bruce Degen, a group of children and I got to painting. Here are the colorful results!





Soap Dispenser Painting

by Mage

This morning I took a group of children to the studio to paint, using soap dispensers to dispense tempera paint mixed with water. We had never tried this activity before, and I thought it would help the children to practice with soap dispensers more. Also, I only had two dispensers, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to practice turn taking. It ended up being more than that! Continue reading

Visual Aide’s & Help Me Learn to Help Myself

by Megan

You might have noticed a few new visual aide’s or posters around Elm House. We have posted these ‘cue cards’ in strategic places around the school to help the children internalize our routines and to help outline the steps for many recurring parts of our day, such as, getting dressed, using the toilet or getting a diaper change, as well as ‘taking a break’. These visuals help reach students in a variety of ways (or languages of learning and experiencing) The 100 Languages, is a key component to Reggio Emilia philosophy.  Like you may guess, the principle refers to communication.  However, the emphasis is in offering children one hundred ways to share their thinking.  Children learn in different ways and the one hundred languages offer different means for learning and expression.

So for example, when a spoken direction is less than effective, we can try to communicate in other ways with visuals. These visuals reinforce our routines at school, and we hope that they serve as almost an instruction manual for independence building. Visual aids allow children the time they need to process what they are being asked to do. They do not disappear into thin air to be forgotten as spoken words or hand gestures do. Visuals can also be sequenced to breakdown and learn a skill, step by step. Visuals remain the same and allow for identical rehearsal and consistent memory pathways to be created (learning!) With this rehearsal and memory of sequenced activities comes understanding and ultimately increased confidence, independence and self esteem. We have noticed the children using the visuals to not only help themselves, but to help others!

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Ice! Water! and other outside warm weather adventures…

By Lainy

Ice exploration with plastic animals

Day 1

Day 2

It’s grey today (“Where are you Mr. Golden Sun?”) but we have had tastes of summer over the last couple of months.  With summer comes outside sensory exploration and using the yard as an extension of our school. We have been thrilled about using the “new” rock area for shaded sensory activities on very hot days.   Continue reading