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In the Reggio philosophy we focus on three teachers. Children build relationships with each of the three teachers throughout their learning process. We consider the parent to be the first teacher, a guide and partner to the child. The second teacher is the classroom teacher, who takes on the role of researcher and communicates with the child in meaningful, engaging ways. A child’s environment is considered the third teacher. The environment acts as the third teacher by inspiring the emergent curriculum as children wonder about their surroundings. Reggio inspired educators are intentional about the children’s surroundings and what they place in the children’s environment. They listen to the children and make sure the environment reflects the students’ interests and needs. Because of our image of child and value for children, we strive to surround them with beauty and hope they feel ownership of their classroom. We hope that your child’s classroom at Sapling encourages their sense of wonder and provides them with serenity.
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Our classroom provides children with a warm, home-like environment to spend time in throughout their day. In the classroom, children have access to a variety of materials to investigate and a wonderful selection of books to interact with. The classroom is a space intended for the children. The items found in the classroom may change based off of the evolving interests of the children. Something we keep constant in our classroom is our family area. We encourage children to bring a family picture that we can display to strengthen the connection between home and school. We also have an identity area in our classroom to encourage children to take pride in and feel ownership of the space.
The atelier is an inspired studio space for the children. Here, they have access to a variety of materials and are encouraged to experiment and create with those that interest them. Children have the opportunity to express their “hundred languages,” as they have access to a multitude of recycled, natural materials as well as media such as fabrics, paint, paper, beads, wire, and clay. The children may visit the atelier to work on short-term creations or spend extensive amounts of time in the space during project work.
The piazza is a large gathering space intended to foster a sense of community and collaboration within the school. The children may visit the piazza to work on large building projects or to move in ways they may not have the space to in the classroom. In our piazza at Sapling, children have the opportunity to challenge themselves on our rock wall or encourage their peers as they climb. Children may plan family events that take place in the piazza, as well. It is a gathering place for The Sapling School community.
We have two main areas of outdoor space at Sapling. Behind the building, we have a space with multiple raised garden beds for the children to dig and plant in. Gardening is a way for children to connect with the natural world, but also to learn the value of perseverance and hard work. Seeing the results of their labor growing out of the dirt can be so meaningful to our early learners.
We also have a natural, sensory outdoor play space in front of the building. We have an abundance of open-ended, natural materials for children to explore. You will see large building materials, tree stumps, tires, large musical instruments, water areas, and areas to work with sand. Natural play spaces support children’s natural problem-solving abilities, creativity, collaboration skills, physical awareness and health.
“We value space, to create a handsome environment and its potential to inspire social, affective and cognitive learning. The space is an aquarium that mirrors the ideas and values of the people who live in it.” – Loris Malaguzzi