What would children’s learning look like in the Child Development Center’s Re-Use Center if teachers, parents, and children could collaborate around the learning? This action research collaboration between a professor and a graduate student/teacher, examines the process the graduate student/teacher goes through as she documents the re-use center narratives of a small group of young children. A re-use center is likened to Reggio Emilia, Italy’s Remida Center as a repository for found, rescued and repurposed materials. This center finds new meanings for discarded items destined for landfills and incinerators. The findings reveal stories of language, literacy and social development as well as explore how intentional collaboration can enhance project planning. Conclusions reveal that big questions for teachers, rich dialogue in reuse contexts for learning, and flexibility with participants are essential to collaborative learning in the reuse center.

Author Biography

Lauren Lantz-Helm is a teacher in the Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education at Fort Hill. Lauren has an M.S. from Portland State University's Curriculum and Instruction Early Childhood Education program. Lauren conducted action research projects while working in the Helen Gordon CDC and is inspired by the work of Reggio Emilia, Italy and reusing materials in education.; Dr. Will Parnell is the pedagogical director of early childhood programs on Portland State University’s campus and is an Assistant Professor. He also coordinates the Master’s specialization in early childhood education for the Graduate School of Education's Curriculum and Instruction department. His specialty areas are environments and designs for learning and teaching, equity and culture in early education, and documenting young children's learning. Will’s passion for learning spaces can been seen through his work in the programs he touches.