In the Classroom: The Grasshoppers
A Paper Project
The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood learning is based on a variety of learning principles. One such element is incorporating emergent curriculum into the classroom by making a place where children create their own experiences, rather than merely receive only guided learning from their teachers.
Recently, the Grasshopper teachers took this approach to its full and cumulative extent with a focus on paper folding and origami. Children were able to follow their own interest in the project, whether that was by creating paper airplanes or decorative paper animals.
There were times when we could not avoid finding a paper airplane any place in the room!
We incorporated math skills, art skills, and social skills through dramatic play based on our creations. Each child was encouraged to find an element of our project at which they could become an “expert.”
As we concluded our focus, we asked our experts to share their skills with their classmates. Some worked on creating step-by-step “books” to share their learning.
In our final week we had an awesome paper folding party, inviting our friends from the Peanuts and Fireflies to learn from our more experienced ‘Hoppers.
Though, as teachers, we are no strangers to the project approach to learning, but what impressed us was seeing this child-led project endure for so long. Emergent curriculum can take many forms, but when the students have the ability to both learn and share gained experience, the evidence speaks for itself.