by: Adriana Hollenbeck, Head of The Experiential School of Tampa Bay
It’s not unusual to hear Reggio Emilia-inspired educators refer to their environments using the phrase "rich normality." The expression describes the social, emotional, physical and cognitive contexts to which they continually aspire. Don’t let the expression fool you because the deep connections actually start with ordinary moments strung together, giving shape to the explorations that will take place in the classroom. Together we build a day with our children, and these days become a string of weeks, months and years that will eventually constitute a well-lived early childhood educational experience.
At The Experiential School it is the attention we give to ordinary moments and the ways of children that permit us to create the bond between their curiosity and the curriculum. Ordinary things such as listening to an echo when speaking close to a rain spout, or looking down the drain where a toad lives, little pebbles "becoming lava," the fragrances of the world around us, or the sight of a bird swooshing above our heads make us pause and marvel. Students inquire about the magnet that keeps my name tag in place and the exciting realization that I can use that tag to unlock the doors too.
These young, polysensory beings and their natural ways are in pursuit of loveliness, harmony, balance, poise, equilibrium and sensibility to relations as they read the world around them.
We are proud of an educational model that guides our children towards the realization that we are part of a whole cosmos and that we should never lose sense of our roles and our relationship with everything else.
“We live in a strange and wonderful universe. Its age, size, violence and beauty require extraordinary imagination to appreciate.” - Stephen Hawking
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