The Reggio Emilia Approach to preschool education was started by the schools of the city of Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. The approach was founded by Loris Malaguzzi.
The following overview of the Reggio Emilia Approach was taken from a packet of information available at The Hundred Languages of Children traveling exhibit:
"The Reggio Emilia approach to education is committed to the creation of conditions for learning that will enhance and facilitate children's construction of his or her own powers of thinking through the synthesis of all the expressive, communicative and cognitive languages" (Edwards and Forman, 1993).
The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education is a city-run and sponsored system designed for all children from birth through six years of age. The Reggio Emilia approach can be viewed as a resource and inspiration to help educators, parents, and children as they work together to further develop their own educational programs.
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.
Even the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)'s revised version of developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) guidelines also included examples from the Reggio approach.
Today, the Reggio approach has been adopted in USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia and many other countries.
The Reggio Emilia approach is based upon the following principles:
Image of the Child
In the Reggio Approach, the child is considered to have unlimited potential, the child’s curiosity and imagination are very important factors. The child is capable to take responsibility. The child listens and should be listened to. The child has an enormous need to love and be loved.
100 Languages of Children
The Reggio Emilia approach calls for the integration of the graphic arts as tools for cognitive, linguistic, and social development. Presentation of concepts and hypotheses in multiple forms of representation -- print, art, construction, drama, music, puppetry, and shadow play -- are viewed as essential to children's understanding of experience. Children have 100 languages, multiple symbolic languages.
In CLC, we believe that the child has
- 100 ways of expressing
- 100 ways of thinking
- 100 worlds
The child says HELP ME LEARN BY MYSELF!
The presence of an Atelier is a basic thing in the Reggio Approach and in turn at CLC. This is where a lot of creativity & character building takes place. The Atelier is divided into different creative activity centers from which the children have the right to choose.
Their choice is entirely according to their interest depending on where they would like to play. This is done through the use of a choice board. The power of choice strengthens their will and personality. It is not only that they are choosing, it is that they learn that they have a right to choose. This helps every child in becoming a self-confident decision maker. Not to mention enhancing their creativity!
Under the supervision of CLC’s Atelierista, CLCians are provided with large amounts of stimulating artistic materials and large space that encourage their creativity and allow them to express with freedom and confidence.
Progettazione (Boat Sail)
According to the Reggio Approach, learning is a journey guided by a compass and this compass is the child where the child is encouraged to ask open ended questions.
The teachers are asked to follow the children’s interests during the educational process which is mainly child centered. The role of the teacher is to scaffold the children to learn and discover through their own interests.
It is very important that children experience real life learning. In CLC, we are always keen on providing the children with real things to use, touch, interact with and learn from.
Projects, also emergent, are in-depth studies of concepts, ideas, and interests, which arise within the group. Considered as an adventure, projects may last one week or could continue throughout a long period. Throughout a project, teachers help children make decisions about the direction of study, the ways in which the group will research the topic (that is usually done through a real webbing process), the representational medium that will demonstrate and showcase the topic and the selection of materials needed to represent the work. Long-term projects or progettazione, enhance lifelong learning.
Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and necessary to advance cognitive development. Children are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem solve through group work. Within the Reggio Emilia approach multiple perspectives promote both a sense of group membership and the uniqueness of self. There high emphasis on the collaboration among home-school-community to support the learning of the child.
Environment as a Third Teacher
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. Having their personal work displayed boosts the children’s self-esteem and makes information revisiting possible. Common space available to all children includes dramatic play areas and worktables for children from different classrooms to come together whenever required.
CLC’s environment generates the desire to know, the desire to build relationships with others to encourage socio-constructionism. CLC’s environment is aesthetic, plants and natural materials should always be available for children’s exploration.
Teachers as Learners
According to Peter Moss: “But the educator in Reggio Emilia is in my understanding a reflective and democratic professional. She is committed to the values of research, dialogue and participation; she recognizes and welcomes education as an inescapably interpretive and subjective activity”.
The teacher's role within the Reggio Emilia approach is complex. The role of the teacher is first and foremost to be that of a learner alongside the children. The teacher is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she lends expertise to children (Edwards, 1993). Within such a teacher-researcher role, educators carefully listen, observe, and document children's work and the growth of community in their classroom and are to provoke, co-construct, and stimulate thinking, and children's collaboration with peers. Also, teachers listen carefully to students, observe and document their work and growth in the classroom community. Teachers organize environments that are rich in possibilities and that invite the children to explore and problem solve, often in small groups. Often, classroom teachers work in pairs and collaboration, sharing information and mentoring between other educators.
The CLCian teacher has to have an understanding of democracy, builds a higher level of citizenship, follows research as an attitude of life, matures by watching and being with children, goes back and wonders why something happened and learns how to make predictions.
Documentation of children's work in progress is viewed as an important tool in the learning process for children, teachers, and parents.
Parents & community involvement
Studies have shown that the more the parents are involved with their child’s school, the better the child does academically.