Investigating natural phenomena



by Preschools and Infant-toddler centres – Istituzione of the Municipality Reggio Emilia, and Reggio Children


Children encounter the phenomena of physics from a very early age, part of the world they are coming to know. These phenomena stimulate their interest, wonder, and questions. Sometimes the phenomena are so present, so part and parcel of their experience, they can hardly “see” them.

One example is light, which is everywhere, but in order to “see” it we need to “turn it on” in our minds. The ideas shared here are a way of pursuing that intent.

Exploring, constructing hypotheses, direct experience, discovery, investigating with trial and error, dialogue and argumentation, comparing and contrasting… these are all things scientists do to extend human knowledge. And before they can formulate a law, scientists use their imagination in order to construct hypotheses, which they then have to verify.

As parents, teachers, and educators, we need to give more space to scientific thinking, which is never separate from children’s physical activity, from hearing with ears, feeling with hands, from the pleasure of colours, shapes, and fantastical imaginary worlds.

That is why we suggest you shouldn’t rush in to give children exact scientific explanations. It is important for children to become used to making hypotheses and verifying them, for them to try and verify again and again.

Instead relax, be curious, challenge your knowledge together with the children, keep an open, flexible mind, and a willingness to feel wonder. Try to encourage children’s provisional ideas and theories, listen to them, and invite them to express them in different shapes and forms: in words, drawings, colours, symbols, geometrical forms and… have fun!

Our experience once again confirms how children need lots of freedom. Freedom to investigate, to try things out, to make mistakes, and correct them. [Freedom] to choose where and with whom they will invest their curiosity, intelligence, and emotions; [freedom] to appreciate the infinite resources of hands, of sight and hearing, of shapes, of materials, of sounds and of colours; [freedom] to realise how rationality, thinking, and imagination, create constant weavings between things and how they move the world, they move it on.

Loris Malaguzzi



Rainbows are created when rays of light go through a transparent medium in certain conditions, and are broken down into the seven colours they are made of.


arcobaleno 01



> Creating rainbows

Looking for rainbows








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