Reggio Emilia Inspired Approach
The Reggio Emilia inspired approach is an inspiring method for early childhood education which values the child as strong, capable, and resilient - rich with wonder and knowledge. Every child brings with them deep curiosity and potential - and this innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it.
The environment is the third teacher
The environment is recognized for its potential to inspire children. An environment filled with natural light, order, and beauty. Open spaces free from clutter, where every material is considered for its purpose. Every corner is ever-evolving to encourage children to delve deeper and deeper into what sparks their interest. The space encourages collaboration, communication and exploration. The space respects children as capable by providing them with authentic materials and tools. The space is cared for by both the children and the adults.
THe Adult is a mentor and guide
Our role as adults is to observe (our) children, listen to their questions and their stories, find what interests them, and then support them with opportunities to explore and learn. In this innovative, child-led approach, projects emerge based on children's interests to encourage deeper learning and engagement.
An Emphasis on documenting children's thoughts
Reggio inspired settings place emphasis on carefully displaying and documenting children’s thoughts and progression of thinking; making their thoughts visible in many different ways - through photographs, transcripts of children’s thoughts and explanations, visual representations such as drawings, sculptures etc. These renderings are all designed to be a witness to the child’s unique learning process.
The hundred languages of children
Probably the most well-known aspect of the Reggio Emilia inspired approach is the Hundred Languages of Children. This belief states that children use many many different ways to show their understanding and express their thoughts and creativity.
A hundred different ways of thinking, discovering & learning
Through drawing and sculpting, through dance and movement, through painting and imagination play, through modelling and music... each one of these Hundred Languages must be valued and nurtured. These "languages" or ways of learning are all a part of the child. Learning and play are not separated. When children are encouraged to use all their senses through hands-on discovery, they bloom.
There are as many education philosophies out there - as there are personalities of children!
Let's first talk about the brain. Before the age of five, the brain has certain wiring windows to allow for the development of love, kindness, compassion, imagination, creativity, remorse, and a certain respect for other living things. If the opportunity is missed to develop these characteristics in a positive way, these windows close. These windows can be reopened at a later age but only with ardent re-wiring. You can teach a 10 year old child to read, but it’s much harder to teach them how to have an imagination.
At Melrose we value:
+ the hearts and minds of our children
+ guidelines of Conscious Discipline
+ cultivating family and community
We Value Children
We value each child for the unique light they bring to our world. Children enter our world with a fresh, clear mind and it is our responsibility as adults to nurture and teach children to become thriving, independent human beings.
We believe that children are capable of constructing their own learning and have an innate drive to learn more about the world around them. When encouraged to explore this skill, children flourish.
In our approach, there is a strong focus on social collaboration and working in groups. Each child is an equal participant, having their own questions valued and their own ideas encouraged. Adults support children to seek out knowledge through deep investigations.
Children are Communicators
Communication is a process, of asking questions and making new discoveries. Communication happens by playing with sounds and rhythm and rhyme - delighting in the process of communicating.
Children are encouraged to use language to investigate and explore, to reflect on their experiences. We listen to each child with respect. We believe that children's observations are an opportunity for learning. Communication is a continual process, a collaborative process.
From the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance:
WHAT IS THE REGGIO EMILIA APPROACH
Founded by the visionary teacher and humanitarian, Loris Malaguzzi, the Reggio Emilia approach refers to the philosophy of early childhood education that originated in Reggio Emilia, Italy following the of World War II. This unique approach to education begins with a particular and strong image of children, of adults, of education, and of life, and flows from a set of guiding principles. Reggio Emilia, is a town still thriving today, more than 50 years since the first gestures of rebuilding and advancing were made.
REGGIO EMILIA GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
We hold a strong optimistic image of the child who is born with many resources and extraordinary potentials
The 100 languages are a metaphor for the extraordinary potentials of children
Participation values and fosteres dialogue and the sense of belonging to a community
The flow of quality information via documentation introduces parents to a quality of knowing that tangibly changes expectations