The Reggio Emilia Approach originated in the town (and surrounding areas) of Reggio Emilia in Italy out of a movement towards progressive and cooperative early childhood education. It is unique to Reggio Emilia. It is not a method. There are no international training colleges to train to be a Reggio Emilia teacher. Outside of the town of Reggio Emilia, all schools and preschools (and home schools) are Reggio-inspired, using an adaptation of the approach specific to the needs of their community. This is important, as each student, teacher, parent, community, and town are different. No two Reggio-inspired communities should look the same, as the needs and interests of the children within each community will be different. Typically the Reggio Approach is applied to preschools and early childhood, at Sparks we extend this pedagogy beyond the primary years.
Fundamental Principles of RE
Children are capable of constructing their own learning. They are driven by their interests to understand and know more. Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others. There is a strong focus on social collaboration, working in groups, where each child is an equal participant, having their thoughts and questions valued. The adult is not the giver of knowledge. Children search out the knowledge through their own investigations.
Communication is a process, a way of discovering things, asking questions, using language as play. Playing with sounds and rhythm and rhyme; delighting in the process of communicating. Children are encouraged to use language to investigate and explore, to reflect on their experiences. They are listened to with respect, believing that their questions and observations are an opportunity to learn and search together. It is a process; a continual process. A collaborative process. Rather than the child asking a question and the adult offering the answers, the search is undertaken together.
The environment is recognized for its potential to inspire children. The space encourages collaboration, communication and exploration. The space respects children as capable by providing them with authentic materials & tools. The space is cared for by the children and the adults.
The adult is a mentor and guide. Our role as adults is to observe (our) children, listen to their questions and their stories, find what interests them and then provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further.
The Hundred Languages of Children
Probably the most well-known aspect of the Reggio Emilia Approach. The belief that children use many many different ways to show their understanding and express their thoughts and creativity. A hundred different ways of thinking, of discovering, of learning. Through drawing and sculpting, through dance and movement, through painting and pretend play, through modelling and music, and that each one of these Hundred Languages must be valued and nurtured. These languages, or ways of learning, are all a part of the child. Learning and play are not separated.
The Reggio Emilia Approach emphasizes student-led discovery learning that allows the child to use all their senses and all their languages to learn.
dCopyright 2013. Julie Price. All rights reserved.