Reggio Inspired Emergent Curriculum & Constructivist Practices in Early Childhood Education

Four year old Em

Four-year-old Em,

she wants to take a walk.
She wants to sit on the edge of the pond.
She wants to drop a piece of mulch
from Wishing Bridge
into the narrow running waters below
in hopes that her wish might come true.


Four-year-old Em
she wants to take a walk.
Everyone else is eating pizza,
but she wants to take a walk.
She wants to wander down the trail
and pick up sticks,
and, yes,
poke at goose poop with a stick
to see what it really is.

This is how we come to know the world.
Walk after walk after walk.
Sometimes I forget that I am still coming to know the world.
That I still need to walk like this–
curious, open, enchanted,
even if I have passed goose poop one thousand times,
there is always something new to learn,
to see,
to be changed by.

img_1413And so I open myself to being changed by
four-year-old Em
who is so excited
because we are taking a walk.

She wants to explore.
She wants to ask questions.
She wants to reach up into the cyprus tree
and shake the branch with her small hands
and feel little pieces of the scented leaves fall onto her head.

She wants to take a walk.

And then,
she stops.

Springs onto a flat rock in the grass
and exclaims,
“I am a Mountain!!”
with her hands reaching into the air

I quickly assume my position,
branches extended and
call back,
“I am a Tree!”


Her eyes light up
with the excitement of a new idea.

“Let’s play Mountain and Tree!”
she sings out.

I agree,
that is the perfect thing to play.

“How are you, Mountain?”
I ask.

“I am good!”
she says.

“What can you see from all the way
up there so high?”
I ask.

“I can see evvvverrrything!”
she answers.

“How are you, Tree!”
she exclaims.

“I am good, Mountain,
but I all of my leaves are falling off,”
I say sadly.

I pick up leaves from the ground and
drop them one by one.

“Do not worry, Tree,
Do not worry, Tree!
You will grow new leaves!
You will grow new leaves
in the…”

she pauses.

“Wait, what comes after Winter?”

I say.

“Oh yes,
That is when your leaves will come back!”

I realize
how nature is the first to teach this,
through her many cycles of life and death–
that after loss,
new life will come again.
So direct a teaching,
even children can understand.

She hops off her rock and
runs down the path.

we are humans again.

With legs
that allow us to take a walk–
a beauty so simple
that I forget just how precious it is.

It is time to go inside.

We bid the lake farewell
and cross the street
and soon it is time for bed
and time for me to go home.

And last night, in the dark of the day,
I went outside once again.
With a curious heart
and stars dancing overhead,
I realized,

I wanted to take a walk.


Thanks to Shae Keane for allowing me to share her poem

Shae write poetry inspired by her passion for the environment and humanity, from her home base in Johnson City, TN where she guides children to explore nature.