This past Thursday, Roots & Fruits had their 11th annual mid-year Reggio Emilia Project Presentation!! Our emergent project this year unfolded into the idea of creating a giant obstacle course for the children and their families to travel through at the end of the school year!!!
An Obstacle Course? This abstract concept for children ages 3 – 5 posed many challenging opportunities for R & F team of teachers as they explored the word, OBSTACLE, and its many layers of meaning. In preparation for their final design, each team of children took the first semester to explore the term Obstacle and through their investigations designed mini models of various obstacle courses.
Our Bear Team designed an obstacle course centering on dinosaurs, trains and volcanos. The children explored the Jurassic periods, while learning about chemical reactions of vinegar and baking soda, and logically organizing a train track through many obstacles of dark holes, fast rivers, and Tyrannosaur Rex’s legs.
Our Lynx Team became fascinated with birds and decided to explore the obstacles birds face when migrating from Canada to Mexico. As they built nests, created bird puppets and designed a gigantic map of North America, the children faced the obstacles of weather, pollution and predators along their journey to get warm during the winter season.
Our Chipmunk Team were also worried about the animals in Winter, specifically the chipmunks, wondering how they survived and ate food when the snow covered the land. They designed an obstacle course for the chipmunks to travel through logs, snow caves, and on trampolines, to land in birch trees to store their acorns.
Our Owl Team focused on storytelling and our ancestors as they created an imaginative story of a ladybug in search of her ancestors that brought her on a journey into the deep ocean. As the ladybug traveled in her magic bubble through the depths of the blue sea, she faced many obstacles of octopus, long seaweed and hunger. With the help of Superman, Spiderman and Batman, ladybug found her way to her ancestor tree where she met up with her family and enjoyed some spaghetti and meatballs!
Our final team, the Hummingbird Team, created a Roots & Fruits community that symbolized our many communities throughout our country. Their exploration of Obstacle focused on our daily, real life obstacles we as humans face in our lives. The children made a model of homes, giant cats, restaurants, hotels, storm troopers, treasure chests, and playgrounds and carried a rainbow of love across them to show our interconnectedness and need to support each other through these various obstacles: “a hotel for the homeless, a Burger King for those who are hungry, a peace house for those who are angry and need to stop, breath and get peace in their bodies, a giant cat to give cat kisses of love, and a treasure chest of money for those who have none.”
The onion continued to get peeled as these preschool children shared their research, knowledge, imaginations, and solutions to the many obstacles we all face in our world. As a teacher and director of Roots & Fruits, I was truly inspired by the stories told, the art installations created, and the hope that was instilled within the adults as they listened to young children share tools of peace and love for their communities, the animals, and Mother Earth herself.