Reggio Emilia Approach
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy developed by Loris Malaguzzi, who was a teacher himself in Italy after World War II. This is not a curriculum, text book, or strategy. This is a philosophy and a belief of children and their development in their natural learning environments.
The Reggio Approach supports the following principles:
Children are capable of constructing their own learning.
- Children are driven by their own interests and questions. Through this they want to learn and understand more.
Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others.
- We have a strong focus on collaboration and small group participation. Each child is valued as a resourceful member of a team, with something to offer. We all grow and learn from each other. All thoughts and questions are valued. The teacher is part of this group, but not as the “owner” of knowledge, but as an equal participant among the children.
Children are communicators.
- Children use communication as a process in solving their problems, experiencing play, and enjoying each other. Children are encouraged to communicate and all conversations are respected.
The environment is the third teacher.
- The environment is set up to intrigue children’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder. Every material has a purpose, and every corner is to encourage children to “dig” deeper into their interests and wonders.
The adult is a mentor and a guide.
- We as adults, listen, and observe children in their thought process. Taking careful consideration in hearing what they are interested in, and what ideas are taking place. Our job is to set up the environment with their interests so that we may intrigue, motivate, and learn with each of them.
An emphasis on documenting children’s thoughts
- We will use photographs, and portfolios designed to document our learners’ investigations and discoveries they make within their environment.
Children express themselves through many different ways or “Hundred Languages”
- Children are able to express themselves in many different ways, and are encouraged to show their unique creativity.
- There are a hundred ways of thinking, expressing, and discovering ourselves. Our environment is set up to give children the opportunity to explore and express themselves in many different ways: modeling, sculpting, dancing, pretend play, and painting. These are all ways of learning for our children, and all ways are supported and valued. Learning and play are not separated but seen as an integrated part of each other. You cannot have one without the other.
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