It's Almost Spring



It's almost Spring and next week we begin our new Spring Season! We are excited about the change of season and the new community that awaits us. There are still spots available to join us this spring, so please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have or simply register now! 


As we prepare for classes we want to lift up the notion of the environment as the Third Teacher. The idea of the "third teacher" comes from the Reggio Emilia methodology of early education. While we often recognize parents and teachers as the first two primary sources of education, Reggio Emilia locates a third teacher being the environment.


Here are three ways to include and engage the "third teacher".  

  1. Encourage flexibility in the space. Whatever playing space you choose to focus on, whether it be indoors or outdoors, make sure the space offers flexibility. Create and re-create the space together, so that it stays up-to-date and purposeful. One of the reasons Upper Manhattan Forest Kids limits the items we bring outdoors is to create more space for children to use the materials found in abundance in the natural world. Sticks have an infinite number of uses, from shovels to paint brushes and more. Also, working with organic materials maintains renewability and doesn't harm the environment.
  2. Notice everything. Think about the environment as an interactive partner rather than a backdrop. In what ways does the environment speak and what does it say? Does the environment offer depth and availability or does it inhibit and project a "look but don't touch" message? If accessible, try experiencing walking off the path when outdoors to remind yourself that there are really no walls there. Do the images in the indoor space offer memories that are familiar and can be revisited in conversation and remembering? Consider choosing items to display that come from real experiences that you've had as a family.
  3. Experience the world as a child. Imagine how your child may view their surroundings at their level. One fun exercise would be to give your child a disposable camera and ask them to take pictures of their favorite places in the indoor/outdoor environment. Notice what they choose to photograph and talk about why. Another great game would be to spend time remembering and even journaling about your most fond memories of childhood. Where were you? What was the environment like? How did you interact with that environment? You may be inspired to share a particular experience with your child or have more insight into supporting your child in a new way.


Stephan Kammerer