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Pumpkins in the Garden? A Reggio Provocation

Why all the gourds in the garden this week? The pumpkins, gourds, and harvest corn are part of a fall provocation. They are there for the children to roll, stack, arrange and rearrange, burry in the sand and uncover… Ok, but what’s a Provocation? The term Provocation is one you might hear a lot around Reggio Emilia-inspired schools – basically it means providing new materials for the children to explore in an open-ended way. The idea is to ‘provoke’ inquiry, exploration, and imaginative play. The materials used in a provocation should be inviting, are often natural, and are usually related to a concept about which the students have already been curious or exploring. Key to a provocation, though, is providing new materials without labeling them – to let the students decide the direction of inquiry and exploration. So far, the pumpkins in the garden have been used for cooking ‘muffins’ and ‘soups’, in restaurants, as building materials, in imagined gardens, as buried treasure, to decorat…

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