Monday, September 1, 2014

A Community of Learners

We consider relationships to be the fundamental, organizing strategy of our 
educational system. 

Loris Malaguzzi, 1993
Reggio Emilia

One of the tenets of a Sabot education is the perception of  children as capable protagonists of their own learning. We watch as they curiously seek the answers to questions and  test  understandings of the world through imaginative play. This seeking and testing  occurs in the midst of  relationships with other children,  family, neighborhoods, animals and nature. 

We value the individual child and their interactions with community.  We observe these relationships and consider ways to strengthen communication, flexibility and resiliency.  We provide the space for children to listen to each other and encourage a shared language.

We help each child find their authentic voice.

Building community in a kindergarten class is a process that takes time and is largely developed through trail and error.

Our shared language becomes very important to the life of the classroom. We refer to the class as a community of learners. Our community is nurtured through our connections. We anchor this concept in a metaphor. We are connected to each other by a string. If we make choices that are hurtful or exclude others the string is cut. We can always mend the string but it takes time and effort. 

 The children in the kindergarten grow to understand that this string also connects them to the children in the preschool, lower and middle schools. These ties are strengthen during time spent on the playground, reading buddies and other cross-grade experiences.

This year our intention is to extend this connection to the city of Richmond. Our umbrella project is entitled "Our Richmond". We will begin with the children's perspective of the city. Trips into the city will provoke questions and conversations regarding the city and the people whom we meet.

How can we interact with our city and deepen our relationships with our home?

How can we strengthen the ties that bind us to our community?

Community is at the center of all that we do.

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