Dreaming Big

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by Sarah Lu

We began our year with some Big Ideas, something that many Reggio Inspired schools choose to do at the beginning of the year.  Because our school and community were still so new, only starting our second year, we chose Community (a continuing idea from last year) as one of these ideas.   And because our Commons was brand new, we chose Place as another.

After we purchased the Commons (graciously financed by the lovely neighbors behind us who held it for us for three years, patiently waiting for us to be ‘ready’ to go forward with buying it), a budding community of new and returning parents and children helped us to carve out this place where we as a group would be spending so much time.  Even in my bloated pregnant bubble I could feel, as the roots of the blackberries were being pulled, the roots of the community of Tulip Tree were being planted.  You parents worked so hard last summer to build a beautiful place for us all to be.  Also during the summer the mapping curriculum was born, in an unexpected moment, with the death of a raccoon.  As I regain strength and awareness after Wesley’s birth I feel a growing excitement about the garden, the sense of place that is being built in the Commons, and the work of the future.

In the classroom our big ideas have manifest in many small ways…  The Caring Curriculum; the Mapping Curriculum; the beginnings of an Identity Curriculum; Tortuga Marina and her travels to the homes of different community members; inspirations for Music and Movement Time; and on.  The teachers and I will be meeting in a couple of weeks to do some curriculum mapping.  This is a process of understanding and deepening curriculum that is developed by a woman named Louise Cadwell and her husband Ashley.  I attended a workshop on curriculum mapping at the Opal School last year, and will return as part of the mentorship program this week to do another workshop.

At this pinnacle of our year, we hope to come together and talk about some of the ideas and curriculum that has come out of the first half of the year…  As our classroom community tightens, as the year wanes, and as the children mature, we wonder how we might grow our curriculum into a culminating experience/s for the children, parents, and teachers.


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