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Reggio Emilia

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Reggio Emilia Approach to Learning

Our educational beliefs and learning programs are underpinned by the highly regarded Reggio Emilia approach…

The Reggio Emilia Approach was founded by Loris Malaguzzi (who was a teacher himself) and the parents of the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. The destruction from the war, parents believed, necessitated a new, quick approach to teaching their children. They felt that it is in the early years of development that children form who they are as individuals. This led to creation of a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.

The city of Reggio Emilia in Italy is recognised worldwide for its innovative approach to education. Its signature educational philosophy has become known as the Reggio Emilia Approach, one which many early childhood programs around the world have adopted.

The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment at the centre of its philosophy. Early childhood programs that have successfully adapted to this educational philosophy share that they are attracted to Reggio because of the way it views and respects the child.

The Role of Parents

Parents are a vital component to the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. Educators respect parents as each child's first educator and involve parents in every aspect of the curriculum.

The Role of the Educator

In the Reggio approach, the Educator is considered a co-learner and collaborator with the child and not just an instructor. Educators are encouraged to facilitate the child's learning by planning activities and lessons based on the child's interests, asking questions to further understanding, and actively engaging in the activities alongside the child, instead of sitting back and observing the child learning. "As partner to the child, the teacher is inside the learning situation" (Hewett, 2001).

The Hundred Languages of Children

As children proceed in an investigation, generating and testing their hypotheses, they are encouraged to depict their understanding through one of many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play, and writing. They work together toward the resolution of problems that arise. Educators facilitate and then observe debates regarding the extent to which a child's drawing or other form of representation lives up to the expressed intent. Revision of drawings (and ideas) is encouraged, and Educators allow children to repeat activities and modify each other's work in the collective aim of better understanding the topic. Educators foster children's involvement in the processes of exploration and evaluation, acknowledging the importance of their evolving products as vehicles for exchange.