Exploring Light on the Overhead Projector
“In the right light at the right time, everything is extraordinary.”
As I walk into the Kindergarten room at Acorn School, the quote above stands out on the wall beside the overhead projector. There are many opportunities to experience light here, in recognition of its magic, and because teachers at this school understand that the inclusion, consideration and exploration of light is one of the central guiding principles of a Reggio-inspired approach to education.
“The teachers prepare the environment to allow light into the room, to flood light from underneath and through objects on the light table, to create shadows on the floor and the wall with an overhead projector. This emphasis comes from a deep understanding of how light calls our attention to changes in colour, form, and motions, to personal perspective and to a ubiquitous and integrative source that brings disparate objects into eloquent relations” (Edwards, Gandini & Forman, Hundred Languages of Children, 3rd Edition, 2012, p. 374).
I watched quietly that morning, documenting as I sat with the Kindergarten boys, marvelling at their concentration and thoughtfulness as they placed, replaced and rearranged the materials they had chosen to place against the light. Once a pleasing arrangement was finished, the children sat for several moments and looked at the wall, sometimes pointing out shapes and colours, other times just reflecting.
“Light is vital for life, has great metaphorical significance, and is a highly fascinating element which children encounter in their everyday experience, from a very early age. Children encounter light – and natural phenomena in general – with strategies that are at once relational-affective and rational-cognitive. The first triggering elements are wonder and curiosity (The Wonder of Learning, 2011, Reggio Children, p. 122).
For another story of light exploration at Acorn School, My Learning Story of Magical Light, please visit the blog I co-author with Diane.