Over 125 Primary Teachers from Surrey gathered on Thursday, January 28, 2016 in our new Resource and Education Centre (REC) to explore and discover elements and ideas of Reggio-Inspired Mathematics. Many teachers have become more aware of the highly regarded early learning program from Reggio Emilia, Italy. In Surrey, there is a growing interest in how Reggio-Inspired practices might enhance mathematical teaching and learning. After teaching all day, these teachers eagerly explored direct provocations focusing on Number, Pattern, Geometry and Measurement. There was enthusiasm as they used ‘loose materials’ and ‘mathematically structured’ materials to investigate the mathematics.
We explored the practices that would help develop our students’ mathematical understanding:
- To see the image of the child as capable and creative, and responsible for their own learning
- To create an aesthetic environment that is a place for wonder
- To focus on the ‘Big Ideas’ and an emergent curriculum
- To use ‘loose parts’, nature and mathematically structured materials to build understanding
- To use documentation to make learning visible
The role of the teacher was discussed:
- To create an inquiry based environment
- To listen and ask questions
- To ‘toss the ball’ back to students
- To help students uncover the curriculum
- To document the learning
- To enable students to build on their understanding
Bringing the outdoors indoors is an important principle of Reggio. Children are so interested in learning through nature. Providing natural materials for the students to explore mathematics increases engagement and wonder. Mathematically structured materials like pattern blocks, ten frames and Cuisenaire rods are often provided to discover concepts.
With the revised curriculum it is so important that teachers have a deep understanding of mathematics. Janice Novakowski and myself have created ‘concept’ summaries for essential understandings involving; Subitizing, Counting, Patterning and Place Value. These often help teachers to build on their own understanding of the concepts.
Teachers explored and made connections to the revised curriculum by focussing
on ‘Big Ideas’, curricular competencies, and content. The idea of ‘Direct prompts,
Implied prompts and Open exploration’ was investigated during the session.
Thanks to all the amazing teachers that attended the session. Hopefully, you took away some ideas to use in your classroom. Remember the important message… ‘One
Step at Time’!