Primary

Mar
13

Curiosity

Last night I was reading a story to my two-year-old son. On each page he stopped to ask me a question. Sometimes I tried to answer with what I thought, sometimes I asked him what he thought, and sometimes I told him I didn’t know. No matter what I said to him, he followed up […]
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By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Feb
19

Reworking Scary Experiences Through Play

A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what they have experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions they have acquired. – Lev Vygotsky Each week, the Cottonwood community of kindergarteners and first-graders hikes in Hoyt Arboretum. Last Tuesday, we hiked to the Upper Meadow, where the children had time to free play. They […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Feb
12

Why Put Our Ideas Into the World?

The Cottonwood Community of kindergartners and first-graders has spent the last several weeks preparing to publish small moment stories that children have written from their lives. The children have taken care to slow down and zoom in on the small details inside these moments. After writing a first draft, the children received their first editing […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Jan
26

Feeling Big

“The child is not a citizen of the future; he is a citizen from the very first moment of life and also the most important citizen because he represents and brings the ‘possible’…a bearer, here and now of rights, of values, of culture.” -Carlina Rinaldi, In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching and Learning A […]
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By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Jan
13

Exploring the “We That I Am” Through Character

“A child’s most sought after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others parts of himself.” -Loris Malaguzzi At the beginning of the school year, the primary team identified the overarching idea of our work to be exploration of “the we that I am.” Lauren and I have continued to observe […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Dec
10

Valuing differences through Brain Buddy work

As a primary team, we have organized our intentions for the school year around the idea of the “We that I am.” One of our big questions within this frame is: What does it mean to belong to a community that recognizes and values differences?  Recently, first grade math paused from the counting work we […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Dec
01

Making 1 from 20

This year, the Dogwood Community was invited to write the story for a school-wide community celebration, the Lantern Walk. The Lantern Walk is held each year when the days grow shorter as winter sets in. The message below, sent to families each year, captures the intentions of this tradition. The idea behind the Lantern Walk […]
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By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Nov
21

Serendipity, distraction, and meaningful metaphor

In her research on serendipity, Pagan Kennedy describes three different groups of people by the way they respond to unexpected moments. The group that she describes as the most open to such moments are the “super-encounterers.” She writes that this group, “reports that happy surprises pop up wherever they look” and that they “count on […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Nov
03

Collaboration and Community

One of the goals and expectations that the primary team pinpointed in our intention letter this year was, “to develop strategies that contribute to the quality of the community by collaborating with others to construct ideas and create new knowledge.”  This has remained at the forefront of my mind in first grade math, as the first […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Oct
23

The Importance of Documentation and Reflection in Building Community

In the Cottonwood community, one of our main focuses in the beginning of the school year is community building – which is foundational to all of our other curricular work. With each new group of children, we try to make visible to them our complex process of becoming a “we”. As teachers, we know that […]
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