Stella’s Sensory Experience…

Today I decided to offer my daughter a special provocation. I prepared some of the noodles that my family made earlier this week and placed them in a plastic tub. Then, I placed Stella in the tub! She was completely engaged as she moved her hands through the ocean of noodles, spreading her fingers to catch a few at a time. She explored the noodles with he hands, with her feet, and with her mouth.  She was captivated.

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Through this experience she was able to work on her gross motor skills (sitting up), her fine motor skills (grabbing at and picking up noodles), her problem-solving skills (thinking about the properties of the noodles, what they’re for, why they stick to her, and how to get them off), and more.  There are so many meaningful connections that this experience helped to facilitate, all while being fun, creative, and messy.

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I should mention that she has these types of encounters daily at her school (which is the school I am a part of). Her teachers constantly tell me how much she loves these types of sensory, open-ended experiences. I, being atelierista, have helped to facilitate special encounters like the one above at school.

Here are a few of the experiences we facilitated at school this month (all featuring my beautiful daughter, of course).

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The Joy in Discovery…

Today, while I was making lunch, my son was exploring a bucket of water. I had given him these squeezable fish so that he could squeeze them, collect water inside the fish, and squeeze again to release the water. He loved that!

Then, he said “Mama, yook (look)!”

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There was something “fluttering” on the ceiling. He didn’t know where this came from. He looked into the bucket, then at the ceiling, and then outside. I asked him what it is and he said “Buh-ah-fwies (butterflies)”. What an incredible connection. The reflection of the water from the bucket appeared to be fluttering, perhaps two fluttering objects. Dylan thought about butterflies.

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He looked outside and pointed to something. Was he thinking the butterflies outside were making the reflection?

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Then, he looked into the bucket again and moved the fish around. He lifted one of the fish and squeeze the water into the bucket. He said something along the lines of “Mama, where butterfly go?” He looked back into the bucket and moved the water around. The reflection disappeared. In that moment, he realized the bucket was somehow responsible.

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This was a special (and unexpected) experience. It gives new meaning to “magic in the mundane”. Dylan was just playing with a set of plastic fish and a bucket filled with water. Mind you, that experience alone was something special to Dylan. Then, something unexpected happened. A unique fluttering object appeared on the ceiling. So many thoughts must have occurred in Dylan’s mind. What is this? Where did it come from? Can I touch it? Where will it go?

These types of explorations, where children question the possibility of something, are so essential. Dylan was wondering where this fluttering object came from and if it was even possible that something like that could occur. He was problem solving by trying to determine what the fluttering object was, what could have caused it, and where it went.

Lights and shadows, in particular, are wonderful provocations for children. Lights and shadows are magical, they, like the wind, are difficult to  explain. To a child, it is a magical occurrence. To an adult, it can be just as magical. When something is not so easily defined, it makes the process of wondering come natural. When Dylan encountered the fluttering objects, I too shared a sense of wonder with my son. That alone is something special, the process of wondering together.

A Meaningful Meal

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I love clay. I have worked with clay for 20 years. I love the feel, the malleability, and the fact that you can create whatever you imagine with this special material. I have a pasta maker that I use for polymer clay. I loved that I could just place a ball of polymer clay into the machine, turn the crank, and create smooth, soft, slabs of clay. I wondered how difficult it could possibly be to make pasta from scratch. I mean, I already knew how to work the machine. This inspired me to purchase a more expensive pasta maker in order to make pasta with my family. Today, while my son Dylan was napping, I Amazon Prime Now ordered a great pasta machine. 2 hours later, it had arrived. I was so excited to surprise my son with this special experience. Little did I know how much my family would love using the pasta machine!

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This was a special night for us. To be present together, in that moment, and to create something special to eat was very exciting. My son was engaged throughout the entire process. He was eager to have an important role in this experience. I believe that, because he was part of the preparation, my sometimes picky eater was was more inclined to taste the pasta. And what a delicious plate of pasta it was!

My Reggio-inspired Life…

Welcome to my blog! My name is Yemi. I live in Miami, Florida with my husband and two children. I work as an atelierista of a Reggio-inspired school here in Miami. For those of you that are not familiar with the term, an atelierista is basically someone who facilitates meaningful projects with children, who helps children develop their ideas using the whatever medium (or other form of expression) the child prefers, and who works with teachers to help bring depth and continuity to the projects going on in their classroom. This is my dream job. This is my happiness.I have fallen in love with the Reggio approach. I feel that it provokes the most meaningful, most magical way of thinking. To honor children, to make discoveries alongside them, and to focus on the aspects of life that are truly captivating is the most beautiful thing to me. To live in an authentic way is to feel fulfilled. I hope you enjoy my little blog. I aim to share the special moments and discoveries that make life worth living.

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That’s me with my two little ones.