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Over the last while I have engaged in some professional reading around the Reggio classroom.  Some of the main ideas is to encourage independent learning, bringing nature and calmness into the environment, and focusing on inquiry in multiple areas of the room. 

Creating an environment that will encourage investigation and inspire your students to be researchers begins with displaying materials that children can touch, triggers their interest (possibly with some discussions in large group), and placing items that are reflective (like mirrors) and the use of light in different ways (light tables, overhead projectors, lamps, wall of lights). 

Once we engage the learner we can begin listen to the conversations, ask questions and begin researching. 

As children explore, educators can begin the documentation process.  Below are a variety of pictures that display centre ideas that can be incorporated into the classroom.  Items are displayed in a way that will attract attention, use different surfaces to change the dimension of the classroom, and will certainly lead into questioning.

 Here there are 3 activities.  One is the 3 glass containers with items in them and containers below.  Students see this and it may lead to sorting.  The second display is highlighters with coloured paper which may encourage some reluctant writers to experiment with colours and see the variety of paper too!  Next is the overhead projector with bottles of coloured water and different materials inside plastic water bottles.  Children can display them on the wall, in the block centre or elsewhere in the room.  This can lead to an inquiry on light, colour, shapes etc.

 

 This s a creative way to display materials and let children decide how to use the display.

  Here are some natural materials found in the environment that can be displayed at a table in a science area.  The materials are neatly organized to invite the students to explore.  You can add paper and pencils to allow the children to draw what they see and this can spark an inquiry about nature-trees, rocks etc.  You can talk about diagrams and bring in some non-fiction books about the topic that can be displayed along side the table.

 Another idea to display rocks, gems, found materials onto a lazy susan.  This activity can be tied into math for sorting, graphing, counting, 1 to 1.  Or an abstract art glueless mosaic activity can come from this.  To the centre you can again add paper to allow the children to draw their creations and display them.  You may begin an inquiry into colour…..

Strategically placing materials in the room that are neatly displayed will engage the learner into perhaps trying new things and asking questions which can lead to many inquiry projects and meet many curriculum expectations.

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