Updated: Oct 10, 2020
One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 Pandemic has been the reimagining of CNS to a mostly outdoor program. As a school, we have always gained plentiful inspiration and curriculum from the natural world, but now we truly live it. In the Red Door room (younger 4's), the teachers challenged themselves to create as many curricular opportunities as possible that incorporate materials and elements found on our own expansive school grounds. Led by that intention, and driven by the excitement of the children in the group, "Everybody Needs a Rock" came to life.
The curriculum launched with children and teachers leading rock hunts together. Children foraged and collected a variety of stones, pebbles, and rocks from all over the playground.
Over the course of several days, curricular elements were introduced slowly and intentionally. Washing rocks, sorting rocks, painting rocks, classifying rocks, building with rocks...
Children learn to care for their rocks and analyze the identifying attributes of rocks. What makes a rock special? What can a rock be used for?
In the Reggio Emilia approach, it is common practice for each member of the classroom community to have a fabric pattern representing them. This fabric is used in a myriad of ways to foster identity and become incorporated into ongoing curriculum components. One of the ways the Red Door group utilizes fabrics is through attendance stones. Each child's individual fabric is affixed onto a rock of their choosing and then used as part of the daily morning routine. These fabric rocks may also be used as story-telling props in dramatic play.
Throughout this rock study, teachers and children share many books and stories together. They participate in group conversations where the exchange of ideas often leads to the emergence of more curriculum.
Rocks have become a key element of their collective classroom identity. The whole class contributed to a collaborative art piece with each child's name encircled in a rock shape. This art now hangs in the outdoor classroom tent.
Where will the rock curriculum lead next? With the intrinsic curiosity of the children, the possibilities are endless!