This year I have had the privilege to work with Charlestown Nursery School in Boston. CNS is often filled with visitors who want to learn about the philosophy and practice of a Reggio inspired school. Visitors and families recognize right away that CNS is a beautifully designed, welcoming and engaging place to learn. This year, I was invited to work with teachers to extend and enrich their project work with children.
A fundamental part of our work as Cadwell Collaborative is to become a trusted member of a team of the faculty and staff at a school. This is the only way that we have found to create the conditions for lasting change and growth. From the beginning, the team at CNS was open and willing to focus on their engagement with project work and to consider how to travel farther and deeper with their students.
This year, each class worked to produce a book or a video as a culmination of their work with students for families to take home as a memory of the learning from the year.
What a beautiful afternoon CNS hosted on June 1st as families attended an open house called a Celebration of Learning. One of the classes for the youngest children invited parents and children to play with loose parts inside and outside and to enjoy the book of stories told with loose parts by the children. The other class invited families to make music and sing together with the many percussion instruments that they have collected and explored all year. During the afternoon, a small and joyful band marched into the commons area of the school to celebrate!
All of the preschool classes published books about their year-long projects. One is the story of how the children decided to care for and repair broken animals and toys and to take this service to the other classes in the building. Another is the story of an extended journey studying snails (who are residents of their classroom), in many ways and with many materials…even imagining that the snails would want to be able to see the stars and building them a telescope! The last features a broad investigation about “What’s inside?” of things? ourselves? fruits and vegetables? machines? Students and teachers wondered, made predictions, made drawings and continued to wonder about the insides of things that can not be seen from the outside.
Congratulations to CNS teachers, administrators and students. You have engaged in, composed, curated and presented beautiful, joyful learning in the form of long term, meaningful projects to your extended community. It is an honor to be a part of your team.