anonymous white napkin

Couple weeks ago went to RE 'Wonder of Learning' Exhibit at the Steinbeck Center.
Couple weeks ago had the rich opportunity to be inspired in person by the stories of Dr. Lella Gandini.

what if you explored a napkin? what if you really really looked at it as Special?
Still letting it all sink in.

Letting words, ideas, and images soak in.
Letting the affects really take hold.

That's how it works for me.
Listening, watching, taking notes.

Relying on these experiences to change me as an educator, to make me a better facilitator for children and new teachers, and to afford me a new lens to really see learning in a new way.

Ideally, as well, relying on these experiences to steal away at least one: "Aha! I have not thought about THAT in THAT WAY before..."

My steal away this time, in particular, had to do with part of the Exhibit that showcased the exploration of White and White and White. Children explored different white papers, textures, and properties of white on its own and what happens to white when manipulated. 
The White Napkin.
It was fascinating to think about the Study of Something that usually is a tool in our everyday lives, as though it itself is already known because we use it. Aha! But perhaps it is not really known very well at all...

The Diana Preschool's White and White Project with 3s & 4s suggest to us:
"A paper napkin on a table is an anonymous object camouflaged by daily use and presence. A customary material which when explored reveals many properties. It is white, lightweight, soft and delicate and just slightly rough to the touch. In layers it obscures light but when unfolded it is almost transparent...Hands, mind and material come together to know each other."
Thoughtful and deliberate exploration of something the children USE daily. 
Have you ever thought of this kind of exploration?
Have you ever given something so simple such focus?
Dr. Lella Gandini: "Young children are not yet attached to their ideas and are willing to test, risk, change and make mistakes."
Let the children explore something we might think is obvious.
Look around your classroom. What might that be?
Look for the anonymous. Look at it Special.
The Diana School: "It is special when we look at it special."

Yep, still letting it all soak in.  Yep.

RE speaker in Los Altos 11/09/11

"Creativity is Dressed in Everyday Clothes”
An Inspirational Evening

with Author, Lella Gandini, Ed.D.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Christ Episcopal Church/Ventana School, 1040 Border Road, Los Altos

7:00 - FREE presentation by Dr. Gandini
5:30 - ($20) Open Studio Time (see below)

In Dr. Gandini's presentation she will cover how:
~ Creativity should not be considered a separate mental faculty but a characteristic of our way of thinking, knowing and making choices.
~ Creativity seems to express itself through cognitive, affective, and imaginative processes.  
~ A child's creative process is fostered by his/her environment and by peers and adults who observe and listen to their ideas.

~ Intellectual and expressive activities are both rich in possibilities, and when used create more constructive and meaningful learning exchanges with children.

*Join for an Open Studio and Social Hour with Lella Gandini - $20 per person.  Heavy Apps and beverages will be provided.  Opportunities to explore materials in Ventana School's  Studio.  To RSVP for this event please email Elisa Merrifield at
**Child care will be available with advanced reservation only. $8 per child/$5 sibling fee.  Please reserve a spot by contacting Elisa Merrifield at or call (650) 948-2151 ex 115.

Questions? Contact: Elisa Merrifield at or call (650) 948-2151 ex 115.
This free event is being hosted by The Third Place. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

Hope to see you there!