Last June I met with Lauren and Lisa Burman (our AUSSIE consultant) to begin planning areas of inquiry for our incoming kindergarten children.
The proposed units of study were to follow the tenets espoused by the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education.
We decided that an investigation of libraries would support the young students as they became immersed in books and the workings of the library.
Our plan included visits to several libraries, including the Taj Mahal of NYC libraries, to learn about how they operate, read books and have fun. We made sure to document all of this with pictures, video and transcriptions.
Slowly, we began to incorporate what we had learned into the dramatic play area. We had a plan to introduce something new into the space when we felt the kids were ready, made a large book to show our learning and helped structure the experience to maximum benefit.
The only problem was...the kids did not want to play there!
So we decided that we should stop trying to be 'perfect teachers with a perfect plan' and just let the kids play. We would watch and let the kids tell us what they needed to make their play more meaningful.
And they did.
It took off.
Jobs were sorted out. Some students were librarians, others were visitors. They had story time, created a scanner for checking out books, made a wall of books (pictured) with labels on the spines of each book, used book carts, assigned duties and even had a guard on watch for those who might want to steal a book.
I have the most amazing video of their play that I wish I could post but of course privacy issues forbid it.
Our library project has been a reminder to us (the adults) to step back and listen to the students. How is it that I keep needing to be reminded of this?!