How to adapt the principles of the well-known approach to promoting interest-based learning in the youngest of students.
Something happened in my life twenty years ago that changed everything. While I was in an undergraduate class, my mentor and professor showed me slides about the city of Reggio Emilia. When I was a student teacher, I felt compelled to share my enthusiasm for education with others.
Twenty-five years later, Reggio Emilia continues to be a source of fascination for me. I’ve had the opportunity to study in Reggio Emilia and to travel to Italy twice to see the birthplace of this educational philosophy, which was a life-changing experience.
The term “Reggio Emilia” refers to an approach to early childhood education that is centered on the child. In the aftermath of World War II, it was established in the northern Italian city of the same name. Reggio-inspired practice, which is an interpretation of Reggio Emilia by a teacher or school, is defined as follows: It will be different in other countries because of the culture, history, and people of the country in question. To describe our support for Reggio, we use the term “Reggio-inspired practice.”
Each individual and each school that is inspired will come up with their own set of ideas. Any school can benefit from using this approach.
OTHER SCHOOLS CAN IMPLEMENT THE PRINCIPLES OF REGGIO EMILIA.
1. The “image of the child” is a phrase used in Reggio Emilia that means “image of the child.” It expresses our attitudes toward children, and it serves as the foundation of my work. All children can be imaginative, capable, and competent.
Write three words about children in which you have faith and tape them to a visible location on the wall. These words can serve as a guide for your day, activities, and surrounding environment as well.
2. Project-based learning is the most effective method of engaging and exploring with children. Children and teachers can learn together and engage in in-depth studies through the use of project work. All of these activities—paying attention to what is being said, asking questions, and exploring—as well as the use of materials and personal experience to integrate content areas—create opportunities for students to learn in deeply integrated ways throughout the day.
Attend to what the children are talking about and playing with, as well as whether excitement or a pattern is developing around a particular topic. Interrogate the children about their understanding of the subject or inquire about any questions they may have. Ask them questions about the subject and then go over the answers to those questions.
3. 100 languages: The term “100 languages” refers to the fact that children can learn in a variety of ways in Reggio Emilia. It is critical to provide children with numerous opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned. Writing, reading, drawing, sculpture, painting, and hiking are all excellent ways to express yourself. Children can learn in a variety of ways when they have a variety of methods for creating and constructing.
Inquire as to what their favorite activities are with your children. For example, if you have a large number of children who enjoy drawing, providing them with opportunities to work with clay, watercolor, or loose parts can help them engage more deeply with a medium that interests them.
4. The environment serves as the third instructor. How can you ensure that your environment reflects the learning of all students? How can it arouse wonder, beauty, and engagement in such a way that children look forward to entering? Our ability to critically examine how we set up our environment to ensure that all children can learn is enabled by Reggio Emilia’s “environment as the third teacher.”
Children’s ideas should be displayed prominently on the walls. They should be able to show off their math strategies, artwork, photographs, and other forms of creativity. Place any stories they’ve written in the book section of the library. This demonstrates that you value their work and want to spread the word about it.
5, as a teacher and a learner, I believe I am still learning new things about Reggio-inspired practices daily, even though I have dedicated the last 20 years to improving my teaching and learning. Reading, working with others, and thinking along with children are the most effective ways for me to learn. Students and teachers should see themselves as researchers and learners to benefit from one another.
Record what your children have to say about you so that you can get ideas for what you can do in response to their comments. Preserve a clipboard nearby and jot down notes from conversations to create a living record that will demonstrate that you are a lifelong learner.
6. Families are an important part of our team. We would be unable to run a school without them. Families are extremely important. It is critical to get to know your child and be able to share that knowledge with other families. This will make them feel important and recognized.
Contact three to five families per week, using the most effective method available: email, phone calls, text messages, or regular mail. Inform them of what your child is up to in the meantime. Make a point of being specific. Be true to yourself.
7. The documentation of children’s ideas and questions is extremely important. Teachers should document their work and make it visible so that students can see the steps in their thought process as well. Because we were observers, we were able to evaluate the learning and process that occurred throughout the project.
Take a large number of photographs. Take note of what the students are thinking. Children, teachers, parents, policymakers, and others should all be aware of the story and major findings so that they can recognize the changes that have occurred.
As a result of my investigation into Reggio-inspired practices, I discovered that anything can be accomplished with intention and purpose. When it comes to our children, doing what we have to do is not enough; we must also have a purpose in everything we do with our children. Reggio Emilia provided me with the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of teaching, learning, and daily living practices. Since I last studied it, it has been a very long time. My situation has allowed me to apply what I’ve learned and observed to my circumstances. It is a passion that I will never be able to shake off.