Inquiring Minds is delighted to share this incredible piece from Richland’s Prekindergarten teacher, Mrs. Abreu. Enjoy.
As Interactive Learning centres were taking place, two children embarked on the beginnings of their identity panels by creating self-portraits. They looked intensely into the mirror at the images looking back at them. They proceeded to reflect back onto the paper what they had observed, and back again in the mirror before, they forged ahead, leaving their first marks on their papers.
J. declared, “I see straight hair.” L. then shared, “My hair is not straight, I have curly hair. I think Mommy gave me curly hair.”
After sketching circles for their faces, they began drawing their hair, one sketching straight hair and the other curly hair. While they looked and reflected upon their self-portraits, I asked them, “What do you notice about your sketch?”
The girls then continued with their self-portraits, looking back and forth in the mirror, making sure every ‘detail’ was just right. They conversed while drawing and eagerly looked forward to their completed self-portraits. Once completed, J. shared, “I think this is my best work.” L. then included, “I didn’t scribble, look it’s me,” pointing to her self-portrait.
As adults, it may be easy to assume that very young children would not understand a concept such as ‘The Ethic of Excellence.’ By engaging in a process of reflection and observation, J. and L. revealed, that they are indeed developing an understanding of what their ‘best work’ means to them. The Reggio philosophy sees children as smart, capable, autonomous competent citizens who are rich in potential.
“I believe that work of excellence is transformational. Once a student sees that he or she is capable of excellence, that student is never quite the same.” (From the Ethics of Excellence, Ron Berger.)