Sunday, 18 November 2012

Why "Interaction Imagination"?

Choosing what to call my blog was both difficult and obvious at the same time. Coming up with a good name is not so easy when there are so many great blogs with names that you would have liked to have used - but when I thought about what it is important to me the choice became obvious...

providing the right materials to allow the imagination to play
 IMAGINATION is considered "a power of the mind," "a creative faculty of the mind," "the mind" itself when in use, and a "process" of the mind used for thinking, scheming, contriving, remembering, creating, fantasizing, and forming opinion. University of Chicago

Imagination helps provide meaning to experience, and understanding to knowledge. It can be seen as a fundamental faculty through which people make sense of the world, and it also plays a key role in the learning process. Imagination is a necessary part of creativity.

imagination to turn sticks into a house 
 Malaguzzi saw the importance of imagination's role in creativity -
 Each 'nest' has an atelier, a large studio/workshop-like artroom, and an atelierista, an art teacher, who works with the children and their teachers. Instead of taking formal art lessons, the children learn to develop various symbolic languages, drawing, painting, constructing as a way of learning to understand the world around them and of expressing their own ideas. The children are encouraged to use their imagination to express their view of the world around them.
The Independent 1994

imagination to transform your home into Hogwarts
 Role-play of course being a great process to exercise imagination - in the role-play area, small-world area, when making small figures out of plasticine and then wanting to create your own film. Listening to and telling stories is another great way to exercise imagination. Imagination is needed to create theories. Imagination is without limit - it is what we need to tap into to be creative, to test, experiment to discover if we can do what we have imagined. It is... what could be, what might be. It is the potential to be whatever you want... BUT there needs to be interaction if we are to support the learning processes of the child's imagination.

imagination needed to hear these birds talk

We consider relationships to be the fundamental, organizing strategy of our educational system.
Loris Malaguzzi, 1993, p. 10.
The metaphor of education as relationship provided Loris Malaguzzi with the fundamental premise for his philosophy and pedagogy. The child--seen as powerful, rich in resources, competent, and social--seeks from the beginning of life to find out about the self, others, and the world through interaction: knowledge is co-constructed. Education, hence, must focus not on the child considered in isolation from others, but instead on the child seen as interconnected with particular others in nested communities: home, classroom, school, neighborhood, city, region, nation, and eventually extending out to include the whole world.

 "Vygotsky proposed that social interaction, especially dialogue, between children and adults is the mechanism through which specific cultural values, customs, and beliefs are transmitted from generation to generation" (Essa, 1999, p.115).  Piaget's point of view was that the children not only develop and learn through a series of developmental stages, but that the children learn by constructing their own knowledge as they come in contact with the environment (Seefeldt & Wasik, 2002), suggesting that children learn through interaction with the environment as well as with people. 

a bus on the balcony - INTERACTING with the furniture, using IMAGINATION
 Interaction is necessary to learn, the interaction between children, between children and teachers, between teachers, between children and parents, between parent and teachers and between children and the world around them... As teachers we need to see the whole picture, the whole child,  and that is why interactions with parents are so important for children to be able to learn, to reach their potential. If we cannot see the whole child how can we scaffold the child's learning? How can we entice the child to extend their interests and theories?
We as teachers need to interact with parents and each other to be able to better understand each child and the group. Then there is international interaction - by reading blogs, books and research, by entering dialogues with other teachers around the world we can further open our eyes, and our ears, so that we can be better equipped to see and hear the children.

interaction - with an adult to learn how to catch a ball.
 There are many things in life a child needs an adult to interact with - to learn skills such as throwing and catching a ball is much easier when there is an adult involved - as adults have developed their throwing and catching techniques that will allow children to learn confidently - the ball is thrown to the child with the right amount of force so that it reaches the child without hurting - also it can be aimed to optimise chances of the ball being caught - this is harder among preschool peers.

interaction with EVERYONE to share finds
 Then there is the need to share experiences, finds, discoveries and theories with everyone around - children and adults alike. Interacting with the environment will help a child understand many things, will help a child create own theories, but getting to talk to others will deepen the learning, and by having adults at hand who can guide the child in their learning will further extend the learning. Creativity requires that we interact with others - that we challenge our own perception of what we have seen and experienced, of what we have imagined... so that we can develop them further...

interaction with animals to learn about nature
 Nature is truly a fabulous way to learn, and I love the fact that my own children have had ample opportunities to interact with nature on many levels - including watching calves being born and how cows are naturally curious and want to check out the new born - that cows do not just eat grass - that eggs are warm when freshly laid...

interaction with each other, with adults and with snow, use of imagination to design a face etc
 Nature can offer many building materials which require imagination - what shall we build and how? As well as interaction with each other to make it happen. Then there is the interaction afterwards with the finished product - watching it melt, looking at photographs and talking about what they had done and what they would do next time...?

Interaction Imagination - two necessary tools for creativity, something every child, every human needs. How else can one imagine there might be a monster in the lake? How else can one be reassured? Without imagination and interaction - where would it leave the child?
interaction with adult and nature to find out more, build theories and to be reassured

Monsters don't have to be scary...
... and what else can be seen in the lake?
... also to understand and use water safety... etc

Edwards, Gandini and Forman (1998) The Hundred Languages of Children. The Reggio Emilia Approach - Advanced Reflections Ablex Publishing
Essa, E.L.  (1999).  Introduction to early childhood education.  AlbanyNew York:  Delmar.
Seefeldt, C., & Wasik, B.  (2002).  Kindergarten:  fours and fives go to school.  Upper Saddle
 River, New Jersey:  Merrill.

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