Experiencing the Wonder of Learning Exhibit

A Reflection: On the Image of the Child at the Wonder of Learning Exhibit

Wonder of Learning

The exhibition provided us with a beautiful  opportunity to  reflect on our  identity,  revisit our values  and  beliefs as Early Childhood professionals.  The trip challenged us to think about our views and explorations with children. The field trip left my students with a sense of wonder and excitement to see further the possibilities when working alongside young children.

Since everyone develops an image of the child through their experiences as part of a community and culture, as well as through what they have been taught both in school and at home, my work with students involves providing them with opportunities to engage in thoughtful reflection. 

Some of the comments students shared:

  • “We can clearly see the child’s voice, I am beginning to see the child” (student shared as she sat giggling at how the children represented movement).
  • “Wow! The child is so respected in this approach” (smiling).
  • “Children’s ideas and thinking is represented in their inquiries [in voice, photo, and video-so many ways” (student shared while she read about the A Gift for the Staircase).
  • “Look at how carefully the educators speak to the children, it’s like they are careful not to share too much!”
  • “I think it is, just beautiful!”

 

Wonder of Learning Visit with Students.jpg

Wonder of Learning1

Professional Inquiry Question: What Is the Image of the Child?

The image of the child is a phrase used by educators influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy of early childhood education. It refers to what a person, or group of people, believe, understand, and assume about the role of children in education and society. This image includes how people think about children’s capabilities, development, motivations, purpose, and agency. Social, cultural, and historical experiences influence a person’s image of the child (Gandini, 1997).
How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years defines the view of the children as:
View of the Child HDLH (2)
People may not be consciously aware of the image they hold, or even recognize the beliefs and assumptions that are part of their image of the child. The Wonder of Learning Exhibit however, helped both students and I to reflect on ‘shared understandings’ of children and develop a frame towards creating greater consistency between what we say and what we do with children. In such a way we can begin strengthening and transforming early years programs across the province.
Reggio Quote
Gandini, L. (1997). Foundations of the Reggio Emilia approach. In J. Hendrick (Ed.),
First steps toward teaching the Reggio way (pp. 14-23). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
A special thank you to my students who so graciously and enthusiastically shared their wanderings at The Wonder of Learning Exhibit in Toronto, 2016.
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