Saturday, March 03, 2007


I love my mom. This afternoon, about an hour or so after posting the previous post about Legos, I got this email in my inbox:

Thank god for google

Read the article. It's fascinating, from the discussions between the children to the issues raised by the teachers. Whether you agree with the values and assumptions with which the teachers began, or don't, it is an interesting look into teaching children to identify and discuss cultural attitudes and ideals and issues. The teachers took the opportunity to raise issues like these:
What is a fair distribution of resources? Does fairness mean that everyone has the same number of pieces? What a bout special rights: Who might deserve extra resources, and how are those extra resources allotted?

Questions that people around the world, both those with power and those without, struggle with every day. The teachers, in a program based upon the Reggio-Emilia approach modeled on schools in Reggio-Emilia in Italy, took a simple conflict and turned it into an amazing teaching opportunity, guided by their overall program philosophies aimed at teaching social justice. After the Legos were removed, the teachers facilitated discussions about power, equity and inequity, ownership, property, distribution of resources. They created simple games using the Legos illustrating the different principles they wanted to teach. Then they returned the Legos and helped the children create their own system for using the Legos that felt fair, reasonable and equitable to all.


So the kids got the Legos back. And they probably learned a heck of a lot more than my kids do when I put the Legos in the closet.

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