What is Reggio Emilia?
Research into children’s thinking and learning plays a critical role in determine how the philosophy and pedagogy in Reggio develops. When talking about their philosophy, educators describe their approach as a long term educational research project where children and adults are learning alongside one another- building the present not forgetting the past and looking to the future. They recognize the importance of understanding more about how children learn and consider every child as a gifted child who needs a gifted teacher.
Every teacher believes that every child has a hundred languages to express themselves not only through the words but through art, music, science projects, dancing and etc.
In the Reggio Emilia approach listening and observing are seen as an active verbs, not a passive ones. Listening and observing gives meaning to the message, and value to the person who is giving it.
Five keys to Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education
- Children’s learning is based on their interests.The Reggio Emilia approach views children as capable of acquiring knowledge within themselves through their natural curiosity and creativity. What they are and become interested in, becomes an important element in their own learning process.
- Teachers and parents are co-learners in Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.Instead of leading the learning process, teachers and parents working with the Reggio Emilia approach act as collaborators in the learning process of the children. The Reggio Emilia approach encourages them to offer their knowledge and help. But most of all, teachers and parents listen, observe, document, and encourage children in whatever it is they are interested in doing.
- The classroom environment is the third “teacher”.The Reggio Emilia approach sees the child’s surroundings as an excellent medium through which a child’s learning experience can be enriched. A classroom setup also allows for mobility and communication between peers. Group and peer communication is also a primordial aspect of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. Children are often involved in small and large group projects.
- Children’s learning progress is documented.Because the Reggio Emilia approach encourages a child’s independent learning, it is crucial that the learning progress is carefully documented. The approach believes such documentation must be done, for the most part, in a visual manner. So teachers take pictures, save children’s work (such as drawings, crafts, projects) and display them in the classroom. In this way, children, teachers and parents can follow the individual learning progress of each child.
- Teachers focus on the many ways kids learn.The Reggio Emilia approach to childhood education believes that children have an “endless number” of ways of learning. This is thus reflected in the many materials, methods, instruments, activities, ideas, tools, etc., that the Reggio Emilia approach presents to children. The Beehive learning center make all of these learning tools available to children based on their ongoing interests. It is a very hands-on approach to learning and discovering.