What is Reggio Emilia?
Reggio-Emilia is an educational philosophy that was developed in the Reggio-Emilia region of Italy following WWII. The Reggio-Emilia approach is now a leading early childhood education philosophy around the world. We employ the Reggio Emilia philosophy in our early childhood classrooms (Infant through Kindergarten). This philosophy is founded on the belief that all children are curious and capable of guiding their own learning through discovery and exploration.
INQUIRY BASED DISCOVERY
Children construct their own learning through asking questions, exploring their real world environment and engaging in imaginary play. We believe that all children are naturally curious and that tapping into their curiosity will result in deeper engagement and development of early language and relational skills.
The 100 Languages poem, written by Reggio-Emilia founder, Loris Malaguzzi, encapsulates our belief that children express their knowledge and discovery through many “languages.” These languages are used to learn and communicate and include music, painting, drawing, drama, sculpting and speaking. Each of these languages are important, nurturing them creates a predisposition for a love of life-long learning.
TEACHER AS MENTOR
The role of the teacher in our Reggio-Emilia inspired classrooms are to mentor and guide children on their educational journey. Teachers are tasked with embracing student inquiry and guiding students to deeper understanding of the world around them. We believe that children have the ability to solve problems, find solutions and answer their own questions through guided exploration.
ENVIRONMENT AS THIRD TEACHER
Our classroom spaces are designed to encourage collaboration, communication and creativity. The environment is a reflection of the children and teachers who learn there. Through exposure to natural light, order and beauty students thrive in an inspiring environment.
Our hallways are filled with student drawings, painting, sculptures and creations along with pictures and explanations from teachers and students about what they learned through their inquiry. This is an important component of a Reggio-Emilia inspired approach and encourages early language and communication skills as well as provides students an opportunity to display and take ownership for their own learning.
Taste Test Experiment
Students in the three-year-old classroom participate in a taste test experiment. Teachers introduce the letter "Y" and the words "yuk" and "yum" to practice their "y" sounds. Then, students are given foods to taste. Each student decides whether they think the food is "yuk" or "yum" and shares it with their peers. The teacher records each decision on a chart and when all the students have shared, the class determines whether there were more "yuks" or "yums."
This is a great example of a Reggio-Emilia inspired lesson where students explore through real-world experiences, learn their alphabet, research skills and data collection while relating to their peers and practicing articulating their opinions and findings.