What is a Reggio Emilia Inspired Studio?
Many people think that the Reggio Emilia inspired approach to education was created by someone named, Mr. Reggio Emilia. But, Reggio Emilia is actually the name of the city in Italy where this educational philosophy was founded by Mr. Loris Malaguzzi, after World War II.
Because of it’s Italian nature, many of the terms used in this approach are Italian. The “Atelier” is one of those. At Melrose we choose to use the term “Studio” – which has the same meaning. Our Studio is one of the most beloved areas at our school. It isn’t just art… it becomes a science lab, pottery studio, literacy center and a place for math exploration.
The Studio Space
The Studio is a key part of our day. Our “Atelierista,” or studio teacher, continually provides fresh opportunities for children to connect with wide range and variety of materials. Design of the space is key to a child’s learning and behavior. Children respond to organized and appealing spaces. The activities then organically blossom from the function and beauty of the studio environment.
Our Studio maintains the aesthetic of our entire school, incorporating natural elements, colors, shapes, found objects, and so on. While a child may not enter the Studio space and say “Wow, this decor is so calming.” – they do walk into a space that is organized, well decorated, and beautifully designed and they do feel its calming spirit. This energy feeds the artistic soul in children.
Color & Materials
Our students are encouraged to enter the Studio with no expectations. They are allowed to explore with clay… wire… beading. Paint is always available in primary colors and black and white. When a child wants orange or purple paint, they learn how to mix it themselves. Color exploration is a daily occurrence. Our approach also encourages ongoing collaborative projects with small groups of children. The study of a particular subject could take on a life of its own and last for several weeks.
Children in our Studio also have the unique opportunity to experience our light table in the Family Room. Colorful transparent shapes allow color matching and exploration. Although our school is filled with natural light, we can always find a dimly lit area for exploring light, shadow, and reflection as part of Shadow Play.
We also incorporate Recycling into our work in the Studio. When teaching young ones about recycling and caring for our Earth, we use the mantra: “Reduce – Reuse – Recycle”. We have an ongoing collection of recycled materials that children can use for creating anything… the only limit is their imagination.
As you can see, the Studio is a magical place for children...