THE REGGIO EMILIA APPROACH
“a hundred worlds to discover
a hundred worlds to invent
a hundred worlds to dream”
Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio-Emilia method
At the heart of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is the belief that children are full of curiosity and creativity; they are not empty memory banks waiting to be filled with facts, figures and dates.
Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum is flexible and emerges from children’s ideas, thoughts and observations. The Reggio Emilia goal is to cultivate within children a lifelong passion for learning and exploration.
The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education is based on over forty years of experience in the Reggio Emilia Municipal Infant/toddler and Preschool Centres in Italy; places strong emphasis on the development of strong, capable and resilient children.
Here are the 5 key elements of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education that our INSPIRE Kids team embrace into their teaching interpretation;
1. Children’s learning is based on their interests
The Reggio Emilia approach views children as capable of acquiring knowledge within themselves through their natural curiosity and creativity. What they are and become interested in becomes an important element in their own learning process.
2. Educators and parents are co-learners in the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education
Instead of leading the learning process, educators and parents working with the Reggio Emilia approach act as collaborators in the learning process of the children. The Reggio Emilia approach encourages them to offer their knowledge and help. But most of all, educators and parents listen, observe, document, and encourage children in whatever it is they are interested in doing.
3. The classroom environment is a “third teacher”
The Reggio Emilia approach sees the child’s surroundings as an excellent medium through which a child’s learning experience can be enriched. Thus, the Reggio Emilia approach calls for a classroom that is open, comfortable and welcoming. The classroom must offer access to various learning tools for children to explore.
The Reggio Emilia-inspired classroom setup also allows for mobility and communication between peers. Group and peer communication is also a primordial aspect of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. Children are often involved in small and large group projects. This type of collaborative learning encourages children to “talk, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize and problem-solve.”
4. Children’s learning progress is documented.
Because the Reggio Emilia approach encourages a child’s independent learning, it is crucial that the learning progress is carefully documented. The approach believes such documentation must be done, for the most part, in a visual manner. Educators take pictures, save children’s work (such as drawings, crafts, works of art or transcripts of children’s thoughts and display them in the classroom. In this way, children, educators and parents can follow the individual learning progress of each child.
5. Teachers focus on the many ways kids learn
The Reggio Emilia approach to childhood education believes that children have an endless number of ways of learning. This is thus reflected in the many materials, methods, instruments, activities, ideas, tools, etc., that the Reggio Emilia approach presents to children. Reggio Emilia schools or centres make all of these learning tools available to children based on their ongoing interests. It is a very hands-on approach to learning and discovering.
At INSPIRE Kids we believe that this method of early childhood education is one of the more popular approaches among early childhood educators because of its easy-going, yet holistic approach to educating the very young.