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Materials Boxes

July 10, 2011

I have begun learning more about the Reggio Emilia approach to education.  (You can read about what I have learned so far here.)  So far, I am really inspired to incorporate some Reggio methods into the learning in our home.

Part of the Reggio process is learning through found materials.  As PlumGirl isn’t quite ready for this and Ihave more to learn about Reggio, I was at a loss as to how to begin.  Then, as I was reading through some old posts on The Imagination Tree, I saw her idea for mini discovery boxes.   I knew that this would be a great way to start presenting materials to PlumGirl.

A quick trip to the Dollar Store, a little work during nap time, and I had four boxes ready for PlumGirl. I made four boxes. One with straws cut to different lengths, one with craft sticks, one with foam shapes with slits cut into them, and one with blocks I made out of sponges.

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I had originally intended to only start with two, but PlumGirl saw the boxes and was excited to start with three. PlumGirl immediately noticed the slits in the shapes and grabbed sticks and straws to slide into them. She seemed intent on just putting shapes onto sticks or straws one at a time.

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I demonstrated putting more than one shape onto a straw, but she was not interested.

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Once she noticed the circles in the shapes, she became fixated upon them. Since circles happened to be the shape I made the least of I have been cutting a few more for her whenever I get the chance.

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I intend to demonstrate making displays and sorting the materials later, but for now I am letting her explore the materials however she sees fit. I am storing the boxes on her shelves and she has worked with them several times since they were introduced.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. amy permalink
    July 10, 2011 9:51 am

    Have you read Beautiful Stuff: Learning With Found Materials by Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini? (Amazon has it.) I read everything I could find on Reggio Emilia when my boys were smaller, and at the time that meant heading to the main education-focused college in the state and borrowing materials from their library, because information was hard to come by elsewhere, even online. I concluded that it would be difficult to practice a true Reggio Emilia approach in a homeschool setting (which is where we were at, at the time) because the atelier and collaboration were so integral. But I do love the philosophy. I wish we had a Reggio-based preschool anywhere near us, so I could send my daughter there.

  2. July 10, 2011 8:44 pm

    I am actually reading Beautiful Stuff! right now. I am only two chapters in, but I am very inspired. I am hoping that since my three kids are only 18 months apart that I will eventually be able to do very small scale Reggio homeschooling for awhile.

  3. July 14, 2011 11:21 pm

    This makes me want to look into Reggio Emilia, as I know little about it. I have been thinking for weeks that I want to give Ty all sorts of little things and different types of containers etc and let him do as he will and see how creative he gets, which maybe seems a bit like what you did here?

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