...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Monday, March 24, 2008

This is my school, my high society

One of the educational philosophies around which my preschool is organized is called the Reggio Emilia approach. A hallmark of Reggio Emilia, as I understand it at least, is emergent curriculum--the idea that teachers plan curriculum around children's interests and natural curiosities, which are ascertained through close listening to children's conversations. Questions and new ideas emerge as children, teachers, and parents discuss the children's interests in an open-ended fashion. Last week the children in my class found a spider in one of our playhouses, and they were so curious about it and asking so many questions that I decided we would read some books about spiders and insects during our learning circle and see where it takes us.

So, all that to explain why last Friday at learning circle I was sitting on the carpet reading The Icky Bug Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta to my class of seventeen kids while my co-teacher Cara supported the circle (ie watched and helped kids find seats, addressed squabbles, etc). Each letter in the book is a different unusual insect, but there are funny moments of self-referentiality in the descriptions. The page for the letter U shows a half-painted outline of a beetle and says, "U is for Unfinished Painting. Oops, our artist forgot to finish this insect!" When I read it aloud, Cara kind of guffawed and said, "Huh! I didn't see that coming." I almost, but almost, said, "Yeah, this book is so meta-discursive!" And then the cognitive dissonance of talking about meta-discursivity and self-referentiality with regards to The Icky Bug Alphabet Book was so striking that it almost made my head explode.