It can seem like there are many educational philosophies to choose from when looking for a good preschool. The Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education is one such philosophy, which has many benefits for your child.
What is Reggio Emilia?
The Reggio Emilia educational approach is named after its place of origin in Italy, Reggio Emilia. After World War II, Loris Malaguzzi and the parents of Reggio Emilia, Italy believed it was time for the standard approach to education to change. A new educational philosophy was created. The Reggio Emilia approach believes that a child has the right to direct their own learning. Reggio Emilia is child-centered education, where teachers, parents, and the community are collaborators in a child’s educational journey.
Reggio Emilia says that “a child has a hundred languages.” This educational philosophy unites and develops these languages: innovation, nature, construction, fantasy, art, music, dance, building, writing, talking, signing, science, body, and soul.
Principles of the Reggio Emilia approach
Reggio Emilia is guided by the following educational principles:
1) Image of the Child –Reggio Emilia supports the rights and opinions of each child. The approach holds that a child is a competent, capable, and natural researcher with the desire for knowledge, who is always ready for challenges.
2) The Role of the Teacher – The teacher plays a critical role in a child’s education by recognizing many learning possibilities. To further the learning process, teachers listen, observe, inquire, document, collaborate, and reflect upon the experiences of each child.
3) The Environment as a Third Teacher –Reggio Emilia believes that the environment in which a child explores also provides a wealth of learning opportunities. Reggio Emilia preschools are thoughtful and inviting. Materials in the classroom inspire children to think outside the box.
4) Documentation – To understand children and the way they learn, Reggio Emilia teachers work diligently to document all aspects of the learning process. From daily journals, child-specific observations and children’s artwork, all moments are considered pieces of the process. Teachers and children can view the learning process through this documentation.
What are the benefits of a Reggio Emilia preschool?
The Reggio Emilia educational approach is based on principles of intentionality, respect, responsibility, and community. A Reggio Emilia preschool empowers children to solve problems, engage with their community and environment, welcome new experiences, build social skills, express themselves with confidence, and enjoy learning.