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Monday, March 7, 2011

A visit to The Campus Children's Center at UVM

In creating Art and Soul Preschool something simultaneously happened, a deep love and desire to make Art and Soul a Reggio Emilia influenced preschool.  Though we are small now, I know that this school will grow and with it the ability to really focus on the Reggio Approach.  

I have always wanted to be a part of making an interdisciplinary K-12 school, the thought of doing a preschool did not come to me until a year ago when I wanted to create a program for my young daughter to go to.   This past summer an opportunity to create a co-op preschool came my way, though that school did not take off, I was introduced to Reggio Emilia by one of the mamas.  It took me about a month before I was hooked.  I have been finding as many books as I can on Reggio Emilia and when I started Art and Soul, I knew that I wanted it to be a Reggio influenced school. 

Some of the aspects about Reggio Emilia that has me so excited is the emphasis on art, and not cookie cutter art, but a genuine sensory exploration of art and art materials.  Another aspect about Reggio Emilia that pulled me in is that this approach to teaching values children as whole, capable individuals.  It takes their interests and approaches the study of that interest from many different perspectives, and really engages the learner: teacher and student alike.  This to me is the precursor to an interdisciplinary school.  Taking an idea and applying it to many aspects of life, explorations and learning.

Aside from reading about Reggio Emilia, I wanted to see a school that used the Reggio Approach.  In one of the books I was reading I came across The Campus Children’s Center at the University of Vermont.  Just last weekend I went for a visit and was like a kid at Disney Land.  I was even taking pictures of their supply closet.  I would like to share these pictures because another wonderful aspect of schools that use the Reggio Approach is the thought and beauty they put into their environments.  It was truly and inspiring and overwhelming experience.  I can’t wait to continue to transform my space!

infant room
Construction Work Bench
Tools out for kids to use
Play area in Toddler Room

Dramatic Play Area...I really wanted to play here
Mirrored Ceiling Panels in the Studio
Colored Window Hangings in the Infant Room.
 I wish it wasn't snowing to see how they cast light and color in the room
Loft and Hide Out in Preschool
I love the simple-clean look to everything.  It felt like someones house rather than a school.
This is a great thing for me since I am doing this out of my home.

Items on shelves in the storage closet.
I love these pictures for the ideas of what you can present to children,
but also the way in which they are presented. 
Reggio has this way of making things visible and accessible which
is wonderful and empowering for children.

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