little bug

Build Buildings

November 12, 2015
Written by Talia

Build Buildings:pig_worldThe Three Little Pigs are homeless! They need to re-build, and Sarah’s Thursday Big Kids Club class – Build Buildings – is doing the heavy lifting.

The kids will study, build, and explore the structures that make up our man-made world. The city they are creating is full of stories and legends, covered in… paint! It’s about the process, where the learning will take them far beyond Pig City, to explore the whole world of building!

Catch up with them this season, with the posts below, or better yet, join them! Thursdays from 1 – 4pm.

Pigland & the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Learning

November 3, 2015
Written by Sarah

Building an entire world is a tough job, not for the faint of heart. Luckily, our Big Kids are up to the challenge! They have been hard at work building “Three Little Pigs’ World,” “Pigland,” or just plain “Pig World” depending on who you ask.

The children were inspired to create a world for their little pigs by the book Mattland by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Gilbert. The title character, Matt, is miserable upon moving to a new town. The area he lives in is surrounded by nothing but mud, rocks, and sticks. Matt ventures outside where he realizes that he can create a place of his own: a pile of stones becomes Dog Tooth Mountain, a large puddle becomes the Far Off Ocean, and once forgotten containers become houses and factories.

Like Mattland, the Big Kids created Pigland using the materials they had on hand. Green paper became its grassy landscape and tissue boxes transformed into the pigs’ newfound houses, nary a stick, straw, nor a brick in sight.

Seeing the Big Kids explore and expand the fantasy world of Pigland calls to mind a poem by Italian Early Childhood Education Specialist Loris Malaguzzi entitled The Hundred Languages of Children. In the poem, Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early learning, poignantly reminds us that, as teachers, we’re able to foster an environment in which children can take the lead. Malaguzzi views children as full of potential and able to construct their own knowledge. They will give voice to their learning in myriad ways if just given the opportunity.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is an approach to teaching, learning and advocacy for children. Essentially, it is a way of observing what children know, are curious about, and what challenges them. Teachers record these observations to reflect on developmentally appropriate ways to help children expand their academic and social potentials. Long term projects connect core academic areas in and out of the classroom.

In the spirit of Malaguzzi’s Reggio Emilia Approach, my goal for Thursday’s “Building Buildings” classes is to provide the space for our Big Kids to explore the investigate the fantasy world of their little pigs and provoke their natural curiosity with open-ended questions about its development. Just what Pigland becomes is up to the Big Kids, but I have no doubt that it is destined for greatness!

Building Buildings with the (not so) Big Bad Wolf!

September 22, 2015
Written by Sarah

Fridays this term, the Big Kids are learning all about building buildings!

To introduce our subject, I decided to go with a tried-and-true story with a twist: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka.

In this version of the classic children’s tale, the wolf isn’t quite so big and bad. He presents his version of events, defending himself against the bad wrap he took for the ultimate demise of the three little pigs.

As it turns out, his huffs and puffs weren’t malicious at all, but merely ill-timed sneezes.

Taking on the character (and nose) of the wolf, I had the Big Kids help me huff and snuff and “sneeze a great sneeze,” blowing the pigs’ houses down.

After finishing off the story (and the three little pigs) we embarked on our next task: make ourselves some new pigs!


The Big Kids made quick work of their piggies, and soon it was time to build some houses for the herd of pig puppets.

We built houses out of straws for the pigs to live in. Then, putting on our scientist hats, we used a blow dryer to test out whether or not our houses would stand up against the wolf’s sneeze

As it turned out, none of the houses fell down! The Big Kid scientists concluded that our straws must have been much stronger than the straw used by the first little pig.


As the fall season continues, the Big Kids will be exploring many other aspects of building with the (not so) big bad wolf, and discovering many ways that things are not always as they seem.

Last week, we read the Museum of Modern Art’s first children’s book, Young Frank, Architect by Frank Viva, and learned about the secret life of architecture! Hint: It’s much more than buildings!

But… it’s also about buildings! So we examined some floor plans and went into the field on an adventure to a real construction site – The Rise at Main and Broadway. This Friday, we will get to work on building houses for our little piggies. As we go on, we’ll learn about tools and simple machines, shapes, and measurement, all while building a neighbourhood where our pig puppets can live!

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