The power of children

I was so excited when I found out that Sylvia Martinez was going to be talking to our Tiegrad cohort. I had just stumbled upon her work the week before while doing research for my lit review. My research question involves how to bring the Reggio Emilia Approach up the grades. The Reggio Emilia Approach to learning originates in a tiny town in Italy but has been hailed as  one of the best educational philosophies in the world by Newsweek. It embraces the ideal that children are competent learners who should have a strong say in the direction of their learning. The Reggio approach states that:

  • Children must be able to learn through hands on experiences using their all of their senses
  • Children learn best through a project based approach
  • Children must have control of their learning
  • Children must be given ample opportunities to express themselves

While researching articles for my lit review I came across the Maker Movement and was immediately struck by the parallels between the two approaches. The Maker Culture according to Wikipedia

” emphasizes learning-through-doing (constructivism) in a social environment. Maker culture emphasizes informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment.[2] ”

I began searching the literature to see who else was researching the parallels and the implications for bringing Reggio up the grades in the 21st century. I found Gary Stager and his Digital Reggio philosophy, did a little dance for joy, and was immediately hooked. This Summer there is a Summer Institute put on by Constructing Modern Knowledge that  is committed to making connections between child-centered learning theories and the creative construction of knowledge with computers. It is so exciting to see the blending of theories that value child-centered learning, an inquiry, project based approach and technology!

I am now hard at work finding articles to support creating a Reggio inspired Maker space at my school. I will be moving up to Gr. 3 next year and can’t wait to use my Reggio background in a new and exciting way that will also incorporate digital technologies for my students. Listening to Sylvia talking about all the opportunities and technologies of the Maker Movement was truly inspiring and has me all fired up! I would love to connect with anyone else interested in creating a hands-on maker space in their class or anyone who is already trying this out.

The following Ted talk by Adora Svitak ties in so well to the constructivist philosophy of learning and really helps to celebrate the power of the inherent wisdom of children.

“The Best Schools in the World”
2 December 1991


2 thoughts on “The power of children

  1. pixiebertha February 23, 2015 / 7:27 am

    I would love to keep in contact with you as to how you will implement aspects of the maker-maker movement into your classroom next year. What are some of your ideas? Would love to brainstorm together!


  2. Jane Rees February 26, 2015 / 11:32 pm

    Alison, I too felt excited to hear from Sylvia. Her optimism and ‘go for it’ attitude inspire me to give it a try. There were many connections with Project Based Learning and connecting the students with real life authentic problems. Let’s plan some ‘maker spaces’!!


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