Intentions and the Umbrella Project


Each year at the preschool teachers choose some things they want to concentrate on. We call these intentions, and they are a way of narrowing our focus and learning something about a concept that interests us or seems to pertain to a particular group of children. If you have tried to work as a teacher/researcher, you know that documentation can quickly become overwhelming. Inspired by the 'Declaration of Intent' we saw in Reggio Emilia, intentions help teachers choose a path for the year. Teachers no longer have to document everything, but can concentrate on certain topics or threads.
This year we have chosen a school-wide intention or "Umbrella Project" on the concept of PLACE, which could encompass all of the classes, from the 2 year olds through the 8th graders. An umbrella project is a series of provocations based on an idea that is meant to spark creative thinking and connect students across classrooms and age-levels. This investigation springs from the last 8 years of inquiry at the preschool on the area outside our playground fence (the Forest), and the way the entire school has learned to inhabit not only each school building, but all of the grounds around it as well. As we prepare to join together on one campus, we will invite the children to show us what PLACE means to them.

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