Reggio Emilia Approach
The Reggio Approach values long-term projects that emerge from the interests and ideas of both teachers and children. Documentation plays a vital role in this approach, serving as a research tool to study children's learning processes, provide insight into their thoughts, and generate further interest. By observing children closely and collecting data through notes, and video, teachers can analyze their understanding and thoughts, revisit with them, and facilitate their growth. Real-life experiences also provide opportunities for children to learn firsthand and develop theories about their interests.
Reggio Emilia Approach "The Reggio Emilia Curriculum is not child centered or teacher directed. The curriculum is child originated and teacher framed." TerraNichol Follows the Principles of The Reggio Emilia Approach to Education Since 1993 Terra Tominelli Founder of TerraNichol Academy Of The Arts School has strongly been inspired by the philosophy and characteristics of the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. The Reggio Approach to learning starred in the villages around Reggio Italy after World War II. The parents led by Loris Malaguzzi believed that their children needed a new way of learning that would focus on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interest of the children. They felt that it is in the Early years of development that children form who they are as individuals. And so the Reggio Approach to learning was born in the small town of Reggio Emilia Italy. Today the Reggio Approach has inspired schools across the globe following these principles. Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing; Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore. Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves. Project Work-Approach Project work is a large component of the Reggio Approach but there is much more to this complex system. Each day the teachers reflect on the experiences of the children always mindful to watch for "the ants instead of always waiting for the elephants" (Amelia Gambetti-Reggio Children). Understanding the Fundamentals of the Reggio Approach Education based on Interrelationships A network of communication exists between the children, parents and teachers of Reggio. These three protagonists work together to create the spirit of co-operation, collaboration, and co-construction of knowledge. They work together interacting toward a common purpose; the building of a culture which respects childhood as a time to explore, create and be joyful. Each of these three protagonists has rights within the school. Those of the children were highlighted earlier. Lori Malaguzzi defines the rights of parents. It is the right of parents to participate actively, and with voluntary adherence to the basic principles, in the growth, care, and development of their children who were entrusted to the school. This means no delegating and no alienation. Instead, it confirms the importance of the presence and the role of the parents, who have always been highly valued in our school. First we have the school, which makes strong and concerted efforts to involve the parents, in the awareness of how much can be gained from close collaboration with the families for the greater security and well-being of the children. Parent participation enables a communication network that leads to fuller and more reciprocal knowledge, as well as to a more effective shared search for the best educational methods , content, and values. (Loris Malaguzzi Reggio Emilia 1993)
The Reggio Teacher The Reggio teacher is unique because she offers herself to the process of co-construction of knowledge, she releases the traditional roles of a teacher and opens doors to new possibilities. She starts with the use of the child's own theories, promotes disequilibrium, and helps the child to think about their thinking to facilitate new learning. (Seong Bock Hong 1998). The Reggio teacher allows the children to: Ask their own questions, and generate their own hypotheses and to test them. To explore and generate many possibilities both affirming and contradictory. She welcomes contradictions as a venue for exploring, discussing and debating. She provides opportunity to use symbolic languages to represent thoughts and hypothesis. She provides opportunity for the children to communicate their ideas to others. She offers children, through the process of revisiting the opportunity to reorganize concepts, ideas, thoughts and theories to construct new meaning. She is a keen observer, documenter, and partner in the learning process. The teacher, like the parents and children also has rights within this unique system. It is the right of the teachers and workers of each school to contribute to the study and preparation of the conceptual models that define educational content, objectives, and practices. This takes place through open discussion among the staff, with the pedagogical coordinators and parent advisory committees, in harmony with the right of children and families; through cooperation on the choices of methods, didactics, research and observation projects; through a definition of the fields of experience, ongoing teacher self-training and general staff development, cultural initiatives and the tasks of community management. This cooperation also extends to the organization of the environment and the daily workings of the school. (Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia 1993) The Environment as the Third Teacher The educators of Reggio Emilia view the school as a living organism. A place of shared relationships among the children, the teachers, and the parents. The school produces for the adults, but above all for the children, a feeling of belonging in a world that is alive, welcoming and authentic. (Malaguzzi, 1994, p.58) The layout of the physical space in the school encourages encounters, communication, and relationships. The arrangement of structures, objects and activities encourages choices, problem solving, and discoveries in the process of learning. In preparing the space, teachers offer the possibility for children to be with the teachers and many of the other children, or with just a few of the children, or even alone. Teachers are aware, however, that children also learn from their peers, especially when they can interact in small groups. Gandini (1993 p.6)