Our learning environment is influenced strongly by the Reggio Emilia approach to education.
This is a brief summary of the fundamentals of this philosophy.
The educators in Reggio view …
The child as a protagonist.
Children are rich, strong, and capable. All children have preparedness, potential, curiosity and interest in constructing their learning, negotiating with everything their environment brings to them. Children, teachers and parents are considered the three central protagonists in the educational process.
The child as a collaborator.
Education has to focus on each child in relation to other children, the family, the teachers and the community, rather than on each child in isolation. There is an emphasis on work in small groups.
The child as a communicator.
This approach fosters children’s intellectual development through a systematic focus on symbolic representation, including words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play and music which leads children to surprising levels of communication, symbolic skills and creativity. Children have the right to use many materials in order to discover and communicate what they know, understand, wonder about, question, feel and imagine. In this way, they make their thinking visible through their many natural languages.
The environment as a third teacher.
The use of space encourages encounters, communication and relationships. Every corner of every space has an identity and a purpose, is rich in potential to engage and communicate and is valued and cared for by the children and the adults.
The teacher as a partner, nurturer and guide.
Teachers facilitate children’s exploration of themes, work on short and long term projects and guide experiences of joint, open ended discovery and problem solving. To know how to plan and proceed with their work, teachers listen and observe children closely. Teachers ask questions; discover children’s ideas, hypotheses and theories, and provide occasions for discovery and learning.
The teacher as a researcher. The teachers see themselves as researchers preparing the documentation of their work with children who they also see as researchers.
The documentation as communication. Careful consideration and attention are given to the presentation of the thinking of the children and the adults who work with them.
The parent as partner. The ideas and exchange of ideas between parents and teachers favour the development of a new way of educating, which helps teachers to view the participation of families not as a threat, but as an intrinsic element of collegiality and as the integration of different wisdom.
For more information go to the Reggio Emilia Australian Information Exchange