Saturday, 28 October 2017

Halloween Pillowcases

Create your own unique 
Trick or Treat Bag!

An easy and fun way to celebrate the Halloween season. 
Let your child explore creatively and make their very own "Spooktacular!" treat bag.

Materials: 1 pillowcase
               Halloween felt shapes
               Sharpie or Fabric markers
               Fabric paint
               Halloween stamps
               Cardboard cut slightly smaller than the  pillowcase

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Apples: Ideas Exchanged, Relationships Formed

"If you have an apple and 
I have an apple, and we exchange these apples, 
then you and I will still each have one apple. 
But if you have an idea and 
I have an idea, and 
we exchange these ideas, 
then each of us will have two ideas." 

George Bernard Shaw

On the first day of school we were gifted these apples. The apples were placed at the inquiry table for the children to investigate a few days later. Several of the children completed observational drawings of the apples and shared their understanding of apples with us. 

After allowing the children time to look at the apples a question was posed and recorded. 

"How do you make apples?" 

The book, "How Do Apples Grow?" was added to the invitation of apples. Through discussion and questioning we shared the book with the child who wondered about apples. 

Sensory Apple Play

We offered this sensory bin play as another way for the children to communicate their thinking and ideas about apples. The loose parts added to the rice were an invitation to explore, an opportunity to connect their ideas to the materials. The children interpreted the loose parts in many ways. We observed and documented their interactions and discussions. Often they shared their knowledge of apples growing on trees with each other as they played. The children also enjoyed the sensory experience of the rice. They scooped the rice up in their hands and let it rain down over the tree. The sound of the rice as it dropped back into the bin was soothing and the children repeated this process over and over again. 

Special thank you to the lunch helpers who were also drawn into our learning environment. They enjoyed setting up the the materials in our sensory bin for the children to discover upon returning from recess.

Discovering the Taste of Apples

"Can I eat this?" 

This question posed by one of our learners prompted our next interaction with apples. The next day we offered the children a variety of apples to taste. A group of children gathered at the table. After a discussion with the educator about the colour of the apples and the seeds inside, the children were offered a taste of each kind of apple. One of the children shared, "This one is sour." Another child pointed to the red apple and said, "That's a red delicious." The children also shared stories of their own experiences going apple picking. 

We offered the children apples again a few days later as part of our Thanksgiving Celebration. Again the children gathered at the table and this time asked about the names of the other apples. The educator used the iPad to share a photo of several kinds of varieties of apples to the children. They named the three kinds we were offering. One child exclaimed after hearing the name Golden Delicious, "I know why it's called Golden Delicious. Cause it's golden and it's delicious!" Then he pointed to the Golden Delicious apple. As educators we noticed how engaged the children were in this simple exploration of apples. 

September is about building and forming relationships with each other and the learning environment. Relationships that will carry us through the year as we learn together. 

Within our learning environment these apples that were so generously presented to us on the first day of school served as a provocation. An invitation to build relationship, an offering that nourishes not only hunger but supported our connectedness to each other. The sharing of food is a familiar and joyous experience. It is a necessity of life, one that sustains us on so many levels. We are blessed and grateful to have had this experience with the children. 

"I observe you, and while I observe you, 
I "capture" you, I interpret you. 
But at the same time 
I also modify my own knowledge. 
So observation is not only 
an individual action but also 
a reciprocal relationship. 
It is an action, a relationship, a process 
that makes us aware of 
what is happening around us."

Carlina Rinaldi 

The Connected Through Inquiry Page on Instagram will be exploring the language of food for the following two weeks. Joanne Babalis , Jenni Low and I are so pleased to have Rosalba Bortolotti as our guest host for this exploration of food. 

Language of Food @ctinquiry on Instagram

I am also sharing this reflective blogpost by Susan Wright on the Language of Food. We were so inspired after attending a workshop given by the Ontario Reggio Association in Guelph. 
Susan's thoughts are sure to inspire you!

 Would love to hear from you.
 Share in the comments how food 
connects and builds relationships. 
What food explorations have 
you shared with your child?

Join the conversation!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Invitations and Provocations - Languages of Learning

Languages of Learning

We are so thrilled to share our next monograph exploring the Languages of Learning. Susan and I share our thoughts and reflections on Invitations and Provocations in the early years. We are inspired to explore how invitations and provocations drive our emergent curriculum. You can follow Susan's own inspirational journey over on her blog: where she shares her reflections on early years education. 

Below are several photos of various invitations from our emergent curriculum program. I hope that they inspire you to create invitations based on your own children's interests. The following photos are invitations from several of our past inquiries with our early years learners. Many of the items included in the invitations were collected and brought into the learning environment from the children. The children in our learning community have a strong connection to nature and the outdoors as we are a rural school. Often their wonders develop from these relationships and explorations.  

The children brought several leaves to school from home. Each child shared their leaf or leaves with the children during shared learning time. Then we created this invitation for the children in investigate their collection of leaves and document their thinking using chalk pastels. You can see by the photo below that the children asked to also use watercolours as well. 

Children often bring in nature items from their recess play. We provide the children with the time and materials to record their observations. This child created this invitation so she could draw her collection of tree bark. 

Play-dough is one of my favourite mediums to offer the children. Collecting vintage cookie cutters and offering them in an aesthetically pleasing way invites the children to explore. 

The children often add to our invitations as their needs develop through the interactions with the materials. The bowl of loose parts was brought to the play-dough invitation by one of the children from the light panel. The children expressed a desire to decorate their cookies. 

As inquiry research develops the children often add to our invitations and provocations. Their ideas are made visible through their contributions to the invitations. They invite the viewer to make meaning from the materials they present. During our bird inquiry several children collaborated on designing a bird nest from pipe cleaners. One child also created a bird bath for the birds. 

An invitation to explore a child's collection of sea shells from a vacation to the beach. 

Children's own reflections and thinking are often added to provoke further dialogue and interest within the learning environment. 

Several children created this invitation to document their observations after researching cardinals using the iPad. They chose a variety of materials from the atelier and even selected very specific paint and pastel colours. 

Loose parts trays offer endless possibilities. They invite the children to explore their ideas and represent their thinking creatively. 

We always welcome you to share your own reflections in the comments after reading the monograph. 

Enjoy and Happy Reading!

Susan and Michelle 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


When Art Meets Literature

"Creative people do not see things 
merely for what they are;
they see them for what they
can be."

Julie Israel

Photo Credit: KidArtLit

I have made so many wonderful connections over on my Instagram account with creative people who have a passion for the early years. Julia and Megan from KidArtLit curate a wonderful creative monthly box. Each box combines two of my favourite things. A wonderful picture book and a creative art experience. When my own two children were little one of our favourite times of the day was when we read before bedtime. Not only was this a wonderful way to support their literacy skills it also provided an opportunity to create a love of reading. I have a visual arts background and it was also important to me that my children experience creative opportunities beginning at an early age. We wanted to foster a love of art as the creative process leads to innovative thinking and problem solving. Two very important skills for their future. 

When we received the first KitArtLit box I knew we had something special. Each box contains a take and go activity, beautiful hardcover book, mini magazine with lots of creative discussion, and enough art supplies to complete the monthly art experience two times. I am happy to be a part of the KidArtLit affiliate team and share our experience with the box. You can click the link in my sidebar to order your own creative box. This month the fabulous ladies are giving away a three month subscription. You have until the end of September to add your name to the list. You can follow @KidArtLit over on Instagram too. They are always sharing creative ideas to support your own child's art and literacy journey. 

Click here!

Wishing you creativity always!

Supporting creativity and inspiring language development through art.

Spend quality time engaging your child in the creative process.

Click Here

Thank you KidArtLit!

Photo Credit: KidArtLit