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Reggio Emilia Approach

The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education is based on over forty years of experience in the Reggio Emilia Municipal Infant/toddler and Preschool Centers in Italy.  It places emphasis on children’s symbolic languages in the context of a project-oriented curriculum. Learning is viewed as a journey; and education as building relationships with people (both children and adults) and creating connections between ideas and the environment.  Through this approach, adults help children understand the meaning of their experience more completely through documentation of children’s work, observations, and continuous teacher-child dialogue. Reggio approach guides children’s ideas with provocations—not predetermined curricula.  There is collaboration on many levels: parent participation, teacher discussions, and community.

 

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. Common space available to all children in the school includes dramatic play areas and worktables for children from different classrooms to come together.

 

The teacher's role within the Reggio Emilia approach is complex. Working as co-teachers, 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/he lends expertise to children. 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. Teachers are committed to reflection about their own teaching and learning.