An Emergent Moment
From Stick to Nest
As a Reggio Emilia inspired school, our work centers on the interests and capabilities of the child. By basing our curriculum, projects, and provocations in our observations of the children’s actions, words, and expressions, we create a meaningful context for play and expression.
Emergent curriculum provides a more meaningful and personal context in which the children play, learn, and explore the environment.
While emergent curriculum is generally thought about on what we can consider a relatively macro level, basing entire threads that last weeks to months around the child’s interest, it is also a concept that occurs spontaneously on a micro level.
Even the tiniest connection a child may make during their play can inform the teacher to provide materials, provocations, and research spontaneously. Below is a glimpse into this micro level emergent curriculum that stemmed from a child’s connection of twigs and a bird’s nest.
While working on the start of collaborative art project, Asher notes,
“This is a bird’s nest … because of the sticks.”
With an actual bird’s nest available that I had found in a fallen tree a few days before, I ventured to gather materials while the children transitioned outside. I created a table that offered the real bird’s nest for inspiration, along with large branches, small sticks, vines, twine, and hay. Clipboards with paper and markers also allowed for another form of expression from observation.
Khaleesi, Joseph, and Thais work together to cut twine for the nests.
After creating a circle with a bent branch then filling it with materials, Joseph ponders over what to add next.
“They will sleep in my nest!” – Joseph
“A blanket to put the eggs under. It could be a bluebird nest!” – Asher
Asher and Joseph observe and draw.
Sam uses fine details in his nest drawing.
“A nest with a leaf on it.” – Asher
“Those are the sticks.” – Everett
“These are the nests and these are the eggs in the nests.” – Sam
“A bird will fly over and see my nest and live in it!” – Khaleesi
Everett and Khaleesi work together, adding layer by layer to the nest.
The base layer.
The second layer with a leaf blanket.
The final layer with acorns for the birds to eat.
This was a few small moments in a few short hours in a single day.
Just a grain of sand in the flow of the day,
but it offers us
the power of the child to create and direct their own creation of knowledge
with a little support from their teachers.
What will you observe?
How will you support?
Louis Amodio – Atelierista/Pedagogista