BRINGING LEARNING TO LIFE
"The Reggio system...is a collection of schools for young children in which each child's intellectual, emotional, social, and moral potentials are carefully cultivated and guided. The principal educational vehicle involves youngsters in long-term engrossing projects, which are carried out in beautiful, healthy, love-filled settings...Reggio epitomizes for me an education that is effective and humane; its students undergo a sustained apprenticeship in humanity, one which may last a lifetime."
- Howard Gardner, Harvard University
Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994) founded the Reggio Emilia Approach in a city in northern Italy. The public early childhood programs in Reggio Emilia have created an educational system that has been identified as the best early childhood education in the world. (See Newsweek: “The Ten Best Schools in the World, and What We Can Learn from Them,” December 2, 1991.) The Reggio Approach to early childhood education has attracted the worldwide attention of educators and researchers. This approach to teaching has been adopted all over the world, including Europe, North & South America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Even the National Association for the Education of Young Children revised the latest version of developmentally appropriate practices guidelines to include examples from the Reggio Approach.
In Reggio, the child is viewed as strong, powerful, rich in potential, driven by the power of wanting to grow, and nurtured by adults who take this drive towards growth seriously. The Reggio vision of the child as a competent learner has produced a strong child-directed curriculum model. Children are encouraged to learn about themselves and the world around them through investigation and discovery. The Reggio Approach has a strong belief that children learn through interactions with others, including parents as partners, staff, and peers in a friendly learning environment. The teacher acts as a researcher- always thinking about the children and their educational practice. Reggio educators speak of their evolving "experience" and see themselves as a provocation and reference point for learning.
Key features of Reggio Emilia's early childhood program include:
* rich learning environments filled with authentic experiences and open-ended materials (symbolic languages).
* documentation is used as an authentic assessment and advocacy of children’s learning.
* the curriculum is not pre-determined; it is flexible so that the curriculum follows the child’s lead.
* teachers, parents, and the school community work together to create a shared experience around children’s learning.
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