Tag Archives: portland reggio inspired

Zenger Farm Fieldtrip

by Megan

This summer we wanted to try something new and take the children and their parents on an outing. Zenger Farm, a urban farm that’s within a couple of miles of Elm House welcomed our group of families. With all of the garden enhancement work that we have done at Elm House over the last year, we wanted to have a culminating experience for the children, and what better place to do that than an actual working and educational farm! We had such a beautiful morning there, and hope to make field trips a couple of times a year part of our curriculum planning.

Zenger farm had such wonderful guides that made our field trip so much fun and extremely informative. Thank you to Laura and Chris for the wonderful tour and information. To learn more about this amazing part of our SE Portland community click here. 

                                  Here are some photos of our time at the farm. We gathered fruit from the orchard for fruit tasting. We fed the plants with farm-made compost. And learned new songs from Laura and Chris. If you all have any more photos to pass along please feel free to email me!


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!

 

 

 

 

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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When we work together

By Megan

Earlier this month we hosted our bi-annual garden work party. We were so happy that so many of our families showed up to help us with some much needed clean up after such a harsh winter! We want to say thank you to everyone who contributed their time, who brought food for sharing and for all of your hard work. We hope you enjoyed working along with your children on helping us create some new outdoor provocations for our wonderful yard. We feel very fortunate to have a community of helpers that extends their talents and lends their time helping to create something great for the children. We will be enjoying our uplifted yard for many sunny months to come!

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Nature Walks

By Megan

Now that the Elm House children are all a bit older and have more endurance, we will be taking small groups on walks around the neighborhood. Our intentions here are to notice the natural worlds wonders, gather natural materials to enhance our curriculum, to chart the growth of new gardens and to connect with the people in our neighborhood. In the past stroller rides have been our primary way to explore, and we will still ride for longer adventures, but we see real value in the exercise that they will get in even walking a few blocks and the change in perspective.

We took our first walk today! Hope you enjoy these photos.

Do you have a favorite house in the neighborhood that has a great yard? Or do you know of a secret garden? Let us know the location in the comments section.