Building Our Learning Community
As we begin the year, together our goal is to build our learning community. Part of building it is through our inquiry work. As we explained at our Open House, every year we have a project, our inquiry project that has a social studies/science aspect. Every year our projects are different because our class is different, the children are unique to that year and bring with them their own experiences. We begin by observing the children throughout the day, documenting and meeting as a team to discuss and analyze what we are observing. We seed the environment and atelier with open-ended materials so that children can build relationships with materials and each other. The open-ended materials, like a third teacher, allow for the children to be creative, discover their learning process, express themselves, and build their learning community. With inquiry/project work, we are also looking for the big ideas that could sustain a year-long project. We are building our learning communities and inquiry skills through group meetings, and wonderings, and through research walks that let us cultivate inquiry skills like observing, speculating, questioning, advocating for ideas, and documenting.
As you might remember from the Open House, our questions, (What is a village, town , city, and downtown?) were based on observations we had made when a small group of children were building a city, then changed it to a town, downtown and uptown. Later even a valley and village were talked about. What did these terms mean to the children? It was a great wonder to start with our first group meeting. And indeed the children had many ideas.