Across the Junior Campus team, many of the staff have shared with us about the Reggio Emilia Approach and how the philosophy informs their teaching. Recently, Early Learning Campbell’s inquiry into How we Express Ourselves has provided a beautiful display of philosophy in action with the creation of mandalas. One of their lines of inquiry was ‘ideas are expressed through the Hundred Languages of children. The Hundred Languages is a key principle of the Reggio Emilia Approach. It emphasises the importance of providing children with one hundred ways to share their thinking of the world around them.
This project was initially sparked from a spontaneous plant-based mandala during outdoor learning. A student-led inquiry into colour mixing was fused with this new form of expression through the book ‘The Dot’ by Peter H. Reynolds, and by observing artist, Wassily Kandinsky’s use of circles within his paintings. Photos of loose part mandalas were studied, with photos of Early Learning circle art added as a reference for future designs. The children learned from one another, borrowing ideas, and adding to their own creations over a number of weeks.
Opportunities were provided to engage in both co-constructed and individual mandalas. Our main mediums for creating circle art were watercolour paint and loose parts. As students engaged in the concept of circular, geometric art over time, different resources and layers were added to enable more intricate designs. Students demonstrated spatial awareness and patterning skills, in addition to learning dispositions of persistence, problem-solving, and communication.