January 2014, Written by Geula Zamist

So Many Sources of Knowledge

As we continue to learn together, and create exciting learning experiences for our children, we speak often about the children learning from their environment. Teachers are reminded frequently that they are not the only source of knowledge in their classrooms.

• Children learn from books. Teachers display different kinds of books and change the offerings often to encourage children to look at books and learn from what they see. Open-ended toys and games also support children’s natural tendency to want to figure things out and draw conclusions on their own.

• Children learn from each other. When children ask questions in the classroom, we turn to the other students and get them to answer their friend’s questions. 

• Children learn from the environment. Teachers display photos of students at work and photos of other places. The photos and posters on the walls encourage children to think and be curious about the world around them. Throughout the room, teachers put out interesting items to pique children’s curiosity and encourage them to explore and ask questions. In the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education, these are referred to as provocations. When a school is located in a synagogue, there are many more opportunities for children to learn from their environment.

• Before Chanukah, when teachers introduced children to the story of the glory of the holy temple, they brought them into our magnificent sanctuary to see and feel some of that glory that we experience today.

• As we introduced our students to the idea of the chanukiah, children were brought to our gift shop to see different kinds of chanukiot and explore their similarities and differences.

The different groups of people in our building also open up special learning situations for our students. On Chanukah we had the wonderful experience of children joining with our seniors for some holiday singing.  The children were delighted to have a special audience as they sang along with Cantor Caplan and their teachers. After the singing, they shook hands and introduced themselves to many of the people participating in the program. The grandparents” (as the children called them) enjoyed the interaction with the children and were joyful to see the next generation of our Agudath family singing all of their favorite songs and some new ones as well. 

The children went to entertain the seniors and in doing so learned so much about participating in a mitzvah and bringing joy to others. We look forward to more intergenerational learning in the future.

Sun, November 19 2017 1 Kislev 5778