We strive to instill in each child a desire for lifelong learning by following the Reggio Emilia Philosophy. We believe that our students have the right to be recognized as constructors of their own experiences and that their education is based on interrelationships. Our students are active participants in the organization of their identity, abilities and autonomy, and we encourage growth through curiosity and things that challenge them.
Our teachers offer themselves to the process of co-facilitators of knowledge by opening doors to new possibilities. They use the students’ own theories, help them identify new ways in learning and are keen observers and documenters in their learning process.
Our teachers create authentic art experiences by providing students with resources and materials to encourage their creative process. Students take charge in their creativity and design with the guidance and support of their teachers.
Our families are encouraged to actively participate in the growth and development of their child. We feel that their participation enables a communication network that leads to a fuller and reciprocal empowerment.
Our students leave our programs ready to learn, with confidence and curiosity, and well-developed social and emotional skills.
What is Reggio Emilia?
- It is encouraging the wonder and possibilities that can only come from a child and his innate desire to explore the world around them.
- It is cultivating a strong relationship with a child through learning and play and being active in the process created together.
- It is creating a natural environment full of beauty and reflection: small natural objects, mirrors, light, wooden toys and quality experiences.
- It is observing a child, meeting their needs, and adapting the learning environment and materials to suit their interests.
- Daily art experiences that give children many ways to express themselves.
- Encouraging curiosity and wonder in a young child.
- Knowing that a child is capable and can become confident to complete their desired tasks and ideas.
- Learning alongside my child to answer their natural questions about their environment.
- Helping them find answers and explanations about living and wondering.
- Exploring the world with all senses.
- Thinking critically, and uninterrupted, about the natural world.
- Observing the child and enhancing their play through providing beautiful tools and experiences that reflect their abilities and interests.
The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education grew out of a city-run system of centers in Reggio Emilia, Italy designed for all children from birth through six years of age. These programs have been recognized as the best in the world, and are based upon the following principles:
Competent, capable learners operate in the “scientific method” (making assumptions about the way the world works and then experimenting to check them out). Children with disabling conditions do not have “special needs,” they have “special rights.” Drive the curriculum with their observations, insights, and questions.
An emergent curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children. Topics for study are captured from the talk of children, through community or family events, as well as the known interests of children (puddles, shadow, dinosaurs, etc.). Team planning is an essential component of the emergent curriculum. Teachers work together to formulate the possible directions of a project, the materials needed, and possible parent and/or community support and involvement. Children are encouraged to talk, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem-solve through group work. Within the Reggio Emilia approach, different approaches toward the same investigation are all valued, and thus children are given access to many tools and media to express themselves. The relationship and collaboration with the home, school and community all support the learning of the child.
Features of the Reggio Emilia Approach Teacher Role
- To co-explore the learning experience with the children
- To provoke ideas, problem solving, and conflict resolution
- To take ideas from the children and return them for further exploration
- To organize the classroom and materials to be accessible and interesting to the child
- To organize materials to help children make thoughtful decisions
- To document children’s progress: visual, videotape, tape recording, photos, portfolios
- To help children see the connections in learning and experiences
- To help children express their knowledge through projects
- To have a dialog about their projects with parents and other teachers
- To foster the connection between home, school and community.
Within the Reggio Emilia schools, great attention is given to the look and feel of the classroom. Environment is considered the “third teacher.” Teachers carefully organize space for small and large group projects and small intimate spaces for one, two or three children. Documentation of children’s work, plants, and collections that children have made from former outings are displayed both at the children’s and adult eye level. Common space available to all children in the school includes dramatic play areas and worktables for children from different classrooms to come together.