At Mamawi Public Elementary School, the teaching staff is guided by the principles of Reggio Emilia. With free play at the heart of this approach, we offer nature school sessions to students at least once a week. During the 90-minute session, we observe and hear students’ question, hypothesize, and attempt to solve authentic problems. Using the instructional materials, the team can then meet to reflect on emergent planning and offer students experiments, investigations, and/or personal projects. For the 2022-2023 school year, we believe that the addition of maker and techno play in investigations will allow our students to use all of their senses and reasoning skills in an instructional experience related to a real-world situation.
Tell us about your team and your school community.
The educational team has different experiences, perspectives and viewpoints. When we reflect and question together, these differences foster deep thinking. As a result, the team’s creativity is greatly stimulated and its capacity for innovation is brought forward. In 2019 and 2022, the training offered by L’alliance Enfant et Nature du Canada was provided to 12 school staff members. In terms of our school population, it is distinguished by its social, racial, cultural, linguistic, economic and religious diversity. Two-thirds of our students come from immigrant families. These diverse students enrich and allow for the inclusion of different perspectives in the knowledge and talking circles.
Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and your students.
With the Nature School sessions, inquiry-based learning and emergent curriculum, we can observe our students as actors in their education. Through documentation, we can make our students’ thinking visible and value their knowledge, skills and attitudes. For this reason, our school is a place to accompany, guide and inspire them to ensure their holistic development. This respect and appreciation of differences also allows students and the entire school community to feel welcome at all times.
Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
We want to develop a collaborative culture with other schools in the network to answer the following questions: Does emergent pedagogy and free play enable the acquisition of another language? How do we implement a culture of play in a K-6 public school? What tools might we use to document holistic child development? How do students’ interests and questions enable the instructional team to offer play sessions to explore different loose pieces.