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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Chapter 1 “Do we really want children pointing to a pigeon and saying, ‘There’s a cardinal’?” “If a child brought you a picture of an octopus and it only had six tentacles, would you correct her? Would you say, ‘That’s wrong; go back and add two more tentacles’?” Kathy responded slowly and thoughtfully. “We wouldn’t say ‘It’s wrong, go back and fix it!’ but we might say some other thought-provoking things. We would have many books about sea life with drawings and photographs. We might say something like, ‘Let’s look at your drawing of the octopus and the pictures in National Geographic.’ We might call attention to the fact that these creatures sure have more legs than we do! Many children would then begin counting and would real- ize that a real octopus has eight tentacles. This is the kind of discovery that learning is all about!” The other teachers were not all convinced. There was a long discussion, with comments such as these: “Process is what is important to young children.” “Each child’s work should look the way she wants it to.” “This whole approach seems manipulative.” “We never tell children how to draw.” “This doesn’t seem very developmentally appropriate!” Kathy explained to the group that the teachers at her center had visited the Hundred Languages of Children exhibit. They had been amazed at some of the work done by pre- schoolers in Reggio Emilia, Italy. After attending project semi- nars, the staff had reflected on their current work with the children. Their new learning convinced them that they had been underestimating what the children were capable of. “We decided that, as teachers, our responsibility includes making sense of the world to children even if it means having them take another look at the color of birds or their two-legged horses!” she concluded. 24 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL