Young Children in the Studio

Sabot has moved to include a younger group of children who start at age two. Because of licensing rules children age two through two and a half present a unique challenge- they aren't allowed in the building where the studio is. So like the elementary school, I visit their classrooms and mini-studios. Recently as some of the youngest children have grown, a group has been able to visit the studio. These initial visits have been about exploring the space and the many materials available.

Children this age, new to expressive language, develop a strong collective intuition based on non-verbal communication. Listening to them involves so much more than hearing. I relish the opportunity to engage with these young children. I learn so much from them. For instance in visiting the Nook and Nest classrooms and in dialog with their teachers I learned of the interest in bugs, especially roly-polies. So I had to research "polies" (as the children call them) and learn how they live and grow, how to keep them over night, and how to let them go again. More importantly the children's interest caused me to think about the difference between empathy and compassion and how each grows when human beings connect to other species. 
On the way up to the studio the other day, on of the children said they were climbing the "older stairs". What could this poetic phrase mean?

"We go up the older stairs to the studio" 
Measuring the "older stairs"

S "In the pedagogy of Reggio, art has been used as a force for breaking away from dominant thought. When children learn, they do it by interweaving and making connections between different languages, and this is exactly what school in a traditional sense does not do, because it tends to separate the languages, which are defined as different subjects, disciplines, fields of knowledge, etc.

C. "We use 'language' and 'languages' to indicate the many sources and forms of knowledge of children, of human beings. .. giving attention to children's ways of learning brings out strongly that aspect that today may seem obvious and banal: children learn through their bodies, sounds, the languages of drawing, painting, modeling, and so on."

-from a conversation between Claudia Giudici and Simona Bonilauri in 'Art and Creativity in Reggio Emilia'