Reggia Emilia at Home
3 Ways to Bridge the Gap Between Conecta Preschool and Home
The young person’s developing brain is like a sponge. They are constantly learning; they learn while we are driving with them in the car, while doing chores at home, and while spending time in nature. Consistency in approach helps your child connect new learning experiences in a way that flows. Here are 3 ways to approach your child’s development in a similar way that we do at Conecta Preschool.
Build on Their Interests
One of the defining principles of a Reggia Emilia approach to early childhood education is that the children guide the direction of their next learning experience. If you find that your child has been showing an interest in ants, take that as an opportunity to teach your child about the insect world, cooperation within a community, and anatomy. Feel your child’s sense of wonder and examine what the ants are doing in your yard, on a trail, or at the lake. Ask questions and try to find out the answers – what different types of ants have we seen? Are they carrying items? What are they? Where are they going? Are they in a group or are they alone? Try drawing them! Are they showing an interest in finger painting? Give them a variety of colors to work with. Let them paint on surfaces with different textures. See what happens when colors are mixed. Introduce various types of brushes. Try to paint something from nature – like an ant! Most importantly though, build on your child’s interest. Ask open-ended questions: “Why does this tree have pine needles and this one have leaves?” or “What do you think the birds are saying when they sing?” or “Why do you think these rocks are brown and these are black?” Pay attention to what questions peak your child’s interest and then provide opportunities for further exploration. True learning takes place when your child has an innate interest in the subject matter. Listen to them, and see what you learn in the process!
Provide Open-ended Materials
Provide various materials for exploration and discovery. Allow the child to manipulate, create, and examine in their own unique way. You don’t even need to spend a ton of money! Many of these open-ended objects are everyday items that can be found in your house, in a supermarket, or in nature. Some everyday objects you can gather are ribbon, string, blocks, paper towel tubes, scraps of colored paper, tiles, etc. Objects in nature can be sticks, pine cones, flowers, different kinds of leaves, rocks, and bark. Try not to direct your child in their play – let them explore on their own. You might be amazed at what your child creates!
Engage with Nature
Nature walks are learning opportunities. Is your child expressing an interested in the different types and colors of leaves that they encounter? Go outside and collect them. Get a book on the local flora and try to identify the different species of plants that you come across. We live in a time where children are being exposed to nature less and less. Going outside and learning about our natural surroundings promotes an interest in the sciences and it teaches children an appreciation for living things. In a time when technology rules, it is important to get outside, engage with the moment, and explore what the world has to teach us.
These are just a few of the ways you can connect your child’s learning at Conecta in your home.