Hailed as the best pre-schools in the world by Newsweek magazine in 1991, the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education has attracted the worldwide attention of educators, researchers and just about anyone interested in early childhood education best practices. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)’s revised version of developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) guidelines includes examples from the Reggio approach. Today the Reggio approach has been adopted in schools in the USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia and many other countries.
Here are some key concepts of our Reggio Emilia inspired early childhood program:
1. The Image of the Child:
We believe that all children are capable, passionate and creative thinkers, who construct their own knowledge of the world. Our curriculum is child-initiated or teacher provoked, evolving with new insights and creating new possibilities.
2. The Role of the Teachers:
We believe that teachers are co-learners and collaborators with the children. Through careful observation, extensive documentation and thoughtful questions, our teachers work and play in partnership with the children. Together they engage in explorations, deepen their learning experiences and nurture relationships.
Through notes, photographs, video and artifacts, our teachers reflect on the children’s experiences and analyze their work to gain a deep understanding of the theories and concepts the children are exploring. This collaborative process allows the teachers to ask more complex questions, create new provocations, and provide other learning strategies or materials that will extend the children’s thinking and support their creativity.
4.The Environment as a Third Teacher:
We believe that multi-layered, rich and complex environments support the children’s learning. Each of our indoor and outdoor spaces is created with intention, contains an abundance of beautiful materials and is transformable, changing as the children explore their ideas and theories.
5. The Hundred Languages of Children:
We encourage our children to express their understandings of the world through many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play, dance, movement, mathematics, poetry and writing.
6. The Role of the Parents:
We believe that the parents are our partners in developing and sustaining our vital, caring community. Their participation supports the richness of the daily life of our school and their collaboration has been instrumental in the creation of many of our unique programs.
7. The Role of the Community:
We believe that extending our learning outside of the walls of the school, encourages the children to become more connected to their community and our community to become more connected to our children. Together we explore diverse local environments, such as beaches, canyons, farms and gardens, as well as museums and cultural events and develop on-going relationships with naturalists, farmers, gardeners and many different types of artists.