What are the Core Values of the Reggio Emilia Approach?
The Reggio Emilia Approach is a child centred educational philosophy for preschool aged children.
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The Core Values of Reggio Emilia Approach
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy usually applied in preschool and early childhood education. Originating from Reggio Emilia, a city in Italy, this philosophy was defined by Loris Malaguzzi after World War II to provide new ways of learning for children.
Malaguzzi was inspired to foster this change in educational approach by parents’ decisiveness to provide their children with a type of education that would enable their young ones to think for themselves. This shift was a way so that fascism would never rule Italy again.
What are the Beliefs of Reggio Emilia?
This learning approach sees children as valuable members of communities where they are encouraged to explore, wonder, question and learn to understand the world around them and reach their full potential in the first five years of life. It has been embraced by many early childhood centres, becoming one of the most respected educational philosophies.
The Reggio Emilia Approach is based on core values that distinguish it from other early childhood learning approaches.
The Core Values of Reggio Emilia Approach:
Children are the main protagonists of their development process
Driven by their natural need to know and understand, children are capable of creating the type of experiences that enable them to learn by themselves. It is possible due to the children’s ability to attribute sense and meaning to everything they see and learn from their surrounding environment.
The vast potential in children for learning is nurtured by their interactions within a social context and its main contributors – parents, teachers and other children. All the above prompt the Reggio Emilia Approach to view children as active collaborators in their education process and not just observers.
The interactions of children are essential for their learning process
Reggio Emilia’s educational approach entails a strong collaboration between children and those who support them in their learning experience: teachers and parents. The educational process does not rely on pre-defined rigid learning programmes but is shaped by elements such as the environment’s design and didactics.
The Reggio Emilia Approach focuses on involving parents in certain activities in a fruitful and respect-based communication between children, parents and teachers. The children’s interactions are organised in small group settings as they enable them to learn, understand, to “figure out” the world in which they live better than working individually.
“The Hundred Languages” – encouraging children’s expression is paramount
Written by the founder Loris Malaguzzi, this concept highlights that children possess a hundred ways of expressing themselves through verbal or non-verbal languages. It also stipulates that children should be encouraged to do so through whatever means works for them.
The Reggio Emilia Approach sees learning and playing as an ensemble and not as separate processes. Language, drawing, dancing, painting, building, sculptures, and music are a few examples of these verbal and non-verbal languages. This type of learning enables children to use all their five senses and shows how children think, explore, discover, create, wonder, imagine, question or feel.
Teachers working in Reggio Emilia-inspired centres use different methods to teach children and adults how to understand one another better and reshape how they think, construct or express their feelings and thoughts. Children are encouraged to explore various situations and formulate their opinions about them with the help of language.
The educational environment acts as a third teacher
The Reggio Emilia Approach views the educational environment as a living organism. It translates into integrating the classrooms and common spaces of learning centres with one other and the communities where children interact. The learning environment must encourage children to explore, discover, play and learn, all in a safe and comfortable setting, where the little ones can feel “at home”.
The interconnected shapes, the aesthetic harmony, the care for the objects, and the use of natural furniture and materials are among the elements that enhance the value of the educational activity.
Our Reggio Emilia-inspired centre in Hamilton is, just like all our centres, purpose-built for children, meeting all the requirements for providing the little ones an environment suited for balanced growth.
Translated most often as “child-centred curriculum”, the term “Progettazione” describes the process in which teachers observe and listen to children attentively and encourage their ideas.
It enables teachers to understand better what children are interested in. Based on this, teachers can define strategies and educational methods to keep the children’s interest alive for project-based periods, improving their learning experience.
Educational documentation is an important element of communication
Educational documentation serves as a tool that conveys the progress of learning activities and documents, the process of learning and the languages developed and used by children.
Documentation is an instrument that teachers utilise:
- To analyse and understand the children better and provide parents with information about them;
- To evaluate their activity to improve it, if necessary, and to share it with other fellow teachers for joint projects when the case.
Educational documentation can provide children preparing for school with a portfolio of pictures, photos, activity sheets, and paintings to show the progress achieved during their preschool education. It gives children a sense of value, self-appreciation for their effort and self-confidence, all of whom shall be useful also during school study years.
The professional development of teachers is a continuous process
The learning centre teaching staff’s professional development is an integral part of the working hours, not just a periodical review of their performance and skills.
The Reggio Emilia Approach has become a point of educational reference for more than 145 countries and territories worldwide, including the four centres we have been operating in New Zealand since 2012. Reggio Emilia’s values and principles help us provide quality learning, and harmonious development to all the children enrolled in our centres.
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Our Early Learning Centres
Our early childhood centre environments strongly reflects our inspiration – The Reggio Emilia philosophy, from Reggio Emilia, Italy.
We provide a creative and open ended environment that encourages infinite learning for the children and strong relationships between teachers, children and families.
The day’s routines are flexible. At the same time, care is taken to recognise and respect each child’s needs.
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