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!
The tree with the orange berries in the farthest left corner of our backyard is called a rowan tree. The berries do not look edible, but they are. They are very astringent, and medicinal. Last year many of the children tasted the berries, and found that they weren’t tasty. They continued to try them regularly for some time, and also used them for other activites, especially berry smashing. Earlier this week, a few of the children asked me about the berries…
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!
Posted in Elm House Blog
Tagged 100 languages, elm house, Montessori, portland reggio inspired, portland reggio inspired toddlers, portland toddler school, portland toddlers, Reggio, south east portland, Southeast Portland Childcare, toddlers, visuals
This morning a small group came with me to the studio to paint, using one of our houseplants as inspiration.
After we painted, there was, of course, quite a lot of paint on the brushes, the caps we put the paint in, and the table. The children noticed me working to clean this up, and came over to watch. I asked if they might like to help me clean the brushes and caps. They were enthusiastic about helping! I showed them how we could slowly swirl the bristles of the paintbrushes in a container of water, and gently rub the brushes against the caps the wash the paint off.
On Monday a small group came to the Nest with me to work on a drawing and collage piece, with daisies clipped from our front yard as inspiration. Continue reading