How do children understand memory?

1008 memories
March 5/14

In the last few weeks, we have been engaged in discussion about how the human body works (this topic of interest comes up regularly, it seems, with young children!). Of particular interest to this group was the brain. They had some thoughts about how the brain works, such as:
"It sends messages and tells us what to do," and "My brain thinks."
When reading a story one day, I asked children "We've read this story before....what do you remember about it?" and the responses came fast and furious. I commented that "You have great memories....where do you keep those memories?" This was an on-the-spot provocation on my part. I wondered what children understood of memory and the brain.
One child told us that "They are kept in the brain! Your brain can hold lots of memories." After some discussion, the children decided that the brain can hold 1008 memories. The children decided that all those memories must be very tiny to fit inside our brains....which engaged the teachers to think about how children could represent their memories.

emergent curriculum, reviewing portfolio

The following day, we invited children to take a look at their own portfolios, and see what they remembered about what they had been doing over the past year. It was clear to them that the photos 'help me to remember' and we talked further about prompts for our memory. Of particular help was the book 'Wilfred Gordon MacDonald Partridge' by Mem Fox. The protagonist in this story used props to help an elderly friend remember her past. The children could remember all of those objects.

On subsequent days, in the studio, we invited children to draw and paint their memories on tiny pieces of
watercolour paper. Here are some samples of memories, and what prompted them.

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In classrooms that use inquiry-based approaches - including those who use Emergent Curriculum, engage in long or short term project work, or are inspired by Reggio Emilia - we work hard to find the time to document children's ideas, thinking, and learning.

The chocolate project evolved from the children's disbelief about where chocolate comes from....
Saturday April 22nd 9am
NSCC Truro Campus
Friday Apr 28th (evening) and all day Saturday 29th
NS College of ECE, Halifax, N.S.
May 4th
online, with educators in Halton region, Ont.
May 6th 2017
NSCC Truro Campus
November 18th 2017
Ottawa area