Saturday, 17 August 2013

A Reggio Approach to looking at Autumn leaves...

the image from Red Ted art that started a whole chain of thoughts...
 I was inspired by the leaf people that Red Ted Art has recently posted - not only do I like the whole natural feel to it, but it would tie in so nicely with a fairy project we have just started with our group of 10 children...

 At the same time whenever I see leaves glued to paper it makes me think of the time I went to listen to Vea Vecchi and the Reggio dislike of glueing bits of "tree corpses" onto paper...

 It got me thinking... maybe art with autumn leaves should be more temporary - created and recreated and photographed to remember... (and with all the marvelous things we can do with photography right now then I do see this as quite an exciting option - the children can create some art and then photograph it themselves - and why not make art collages with the children - seeing which special effects they choose, which frames they choose and WHY)

using a wooden plank as a background natural materials were collected and used to create with



nature art collage with the colours made extra bright (due to the red berries)

another nature art with a different frame and more images as there were more images that my children WANTED to include)

But at the same time why not challenge this idea... if there is a real reason for gluing leaves onto paper and not just because it is a typical autumn thing to do then maybe Vea Vecchi is wrong (or I have misunderstood - or she was mistranslated - as she does talk in Italian, and my Italian is VERY limited and it was translated into Swedish - which I have mastered over the years but there can still be nuances I miss)...
I am quite sure that if gluing leaves on paper is part of a process - to see what happens to the leaves that Vea Vecchiwould not be quite as disapproving... my interpretation is the fact she disliked how EVERY autumn there was a need to glue leaves onto paper as an autumn project... but that the leaves were not allowed to tell their story, they were not meaningful for the children it was done as a routine instead of as an opportunity for learning...

Take the time... to listen and observe the children's interest with the leaves...
is it the sound? Then, can you make leaf music?
Is it the colours? How can you recreate autumn leaf colours?
Is it the movement? Why not make a leaf dance?
Why not paint WITH the leaves instead of paint brushes to create a autumn picture - would you do that with just one leaf or would you bind leaves to a stick to make a nature paint brush.. what would happen if you used wet leaves v dry leaves?

Have the children understood WHY the leaves are falling down? Have you taken the time to find out THEIR theories about why leaves fall down, or why they sometimes float down one by one and sometimes seem to "rain" down in masses... What else have the children observed about the change in nature during autmn?


autumn leaves do not need to be glued onto the wall to prove that it is autumn - why not study how the leaves fall and allow the children to think about the movment of the leaves, the sound of the leaves, the smell and look of them... why not allow them to deepen their understanding of autumn through leaves by allowing the children to make their own leaves with a selection of materials... this image comes from Boulder Journey School.
sometimes the art just happens - children start collecting and creating and as teachers we just observe the process collecting thoughts and ideas about how this spontaneous play can be extended... and as quich as the art appeared so it disappears and is morphed into something new... just as one season changes into another...
So how are you going to deepen the awareness of autumn (or whatever season is coming your way) so that your children are given the time to explore it on their own terms and be supported to discover their interests...?

4 comments:

  1. I have only recently discovered your delightful, deeply thought-provoking blog. I am also, coincidently, reading Vea Vecchi's remarkable book "Art and Creativity in Reggio Emilia", so naturally your last few posts have resonated strongly with thoughts already at front of mind. The panel above from the Boulder school is such a wonderful example of a classroom built on listening to the children.

    I want to say what I most appreciate is your tone... Your postmodern approach to sharing ideas not as though you believe them intrinsically right or true, but as a state you're currently in but may not stay in. That is one of those aspects of falling on love with the inspirations from Reggio Emilia that is hardest to explain to colleagues and friends, that aspect of making OUR OWN learning visible. You do it so generously. I shall be dipping back through your posts over the next weeks in preparation for our school year to begin. Thank you for the inspiration!

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    1. I think that is the part I love about the Reggio Approach the most - that it is a shape shifter in order to suit the needs of the children you work with - and as I love delving into research it also allows me to weave those thoughts in - the ones relevant to the children's needs and the ones relevant to my understanding of the children and my role as a teacher...

      thank you so much for your feedback...

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  2. Suzanne,
    I thank you for each of your blog postings. They are beautiful, engaging, introspective, and thought provoking.
    I will continue to read and reread so that i may learn and integrate these ideas, concepts and principles into my daily life as an administrator, educator and learner.

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