When children start to attend preschool, it is a worrisome period for parents, because a child is very young to toddle into a new experience. They will feel helpless, strange, whine, or sulk this stage of life. But parents are always occupied, so they have no chance to get close and share with their children.
Under the circumstances, parents’ interaction and engagement with children are less and less. But do not worry, the children’s Reggio Emilia Approach will help you out immediately. With the Reggio Emilia training, the education of children will become effortless but still ensure quality and effectiveness. This approach is a unified combination of parents, children, and teachers, but the most significant role in this association is still parents.
To help parents to understand more about the Reggio Emilia approach and what benefits it brings to children, I have prepared the following article to share all the necessary information about the Reggio Emilia approach. You can read and gain a lot of useful knowledge about this unique way of education.
- 1 Background
- 2 Reggio Emilia Philosophy
- 3 Reggio Emilia Environment
- 4 Fundamental Principles – What Are The Core Values Of The Reggio Emilia Approach
- 4.1 Children actively participate in learning
- 4.2 Environment plays an extremely significant part
- 4.3 The teachers-parents-children relationship is collaborative in the learning process
- 4.4 Children learn how to collaborate and communicate in their communities
- 4.5 Give children practical experiences based on creativity
- 5 Reggio Emilia Approach vs Montessori
- 6 Problems With The Reggio Emilia Approach
- 7 Reggio Emilia Approach For Toddlers
- 8 Reggio Emilia Activities That Popular In Reggio-Inspired Preschools
- 9 Benefits Of Reggio Emilia Training
The Reggio Emilia Approach is a unique philosophy of education for children at preschool or primary age. This approach has a background known to concentrate on the belief that children are naturally rich in potential, strength, and full of energy.
Each child learns and gains knowledge about the world around them by their queries and curiosity, which are innate. These things that always come to children’s mind creates the interest to know about everything going on around in the world where they are living and their role within it, then unleash their innermost abilities gradually.
Reggio Emilia Approach has a remarkable background and minor history. Back to the 40s of the 20th century, when the Italian processed to rebuild society after World War II, the villagers hadn’t got the standard curriculums for students, so that they have to teach and answer children’s questions by letting them explore the world, nature and encourage them to participate in games.
This process of education in the natural environment has inspired an Italian psychologist named Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994) to found and develop the new educational method and start the background of Reggio Emilia. Under the guidance of Loris Malaguzzi, the staff of the Infant – Early Childhood Center and Kindergartens in Reggio worked together on a philosophy of education to maintain the natural development of humans.
After a long time, Loris successfully developed this unique and modern educational method, and they named it after that small Italian city where the researchers were dedicated, the Reggio Emilia Approach.
Although the Reggio background shares the values of other well-known educational methods such as Waldorf and Montessori, it is not a philosophy with a belief system like the previous methods. Instead, the Reggio Emilia principles are based on the steady foundational values of your child’s learning.
These values are not only for preschools or primary schools, but also can be beneficial in diverse circumstances, and in several ways, tailored to specific conditions.
Reggio Emilia Philosophy
The Reggio Emilia philosophy is created based on the fundamental principles of this approach, the philosophies embodied in the following beliefs:
A child has hundred languages
The key intention of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is to train children through their natural development and the close connections between them and the environments around them. The basis of the Reggio Emilia approach presented in its perspective on the children. In particular, it says that for children to integrate with diverse cultures and languages, educational promotion among the youngest children must be considerable. Reggio Emilia philosophy has the belief that children are capable of expressing ideas in a variety of ways through symbols and images. Children will learn how to use tools and materials to explore what they are curious about. “100 languages” have many ways to be expressed, such as talking, writing, moving, drawing, modeling, crafting, music, and whatever children use to communicate with others in their world. And the way to combine those modes of speaking to form a story of themselves is “100 languages”. Teachers must understand their responsibilities in the process of exploiting the meaning of artistic symbols of children, just like utilizing communication through the way children talk and interact with teachers. Teachers must comprehend and listen to this “100 Languages”. Children often use these ways to show what they have learned and how to be their “teacher” themselves.
The Child’s image
The educators at Reggio Emilia preschools always mention the image of the child they are building first. A child’s powerful image is the foundation of Reggio Emilia philosophy. Educators do not see children as empty and demanding individuals. Instead, they see a potential child, like the protagonist, an active builder of children’s knowledge.
All children are born well-prepared, potential and curious, eager to participate in social interaction, establishing relationships, building lessons for themselves, as well as the ability to adjust to the environment wonderfully.
Therefore with the Reggio Emilia philosophy, adults will see children as a talented, promising, and potential person, who always builds their lessons through interaction with others. Educators have to try to understand as completely as possible the child’s perspective and ability.
At Reggio Emilia schools, children’s education is for the whole life. It means that educators will teach children all the connection, interaction, and the child’s social and psychological behavior, not just only train the brain to attain as much knowledge as possible.
It’s better if education gives children the awareness of who they are and what’s their role in their community as well as their passions and goals of life. The child always has the concept of being in harmony with the universe, the people, always knows the responsibility, lives honestly, and always knows the right perception in the child’s viewpoint from which they understand, where they are, and how they will live.
In general, a healthy child is a child who has dreams, ambitions, and a desire to contribute to society. As well as understanding what the world is like, what they will do, it requires a process, not just in the first years of life. Finally, education must aim at the freedom to express oneself, the freedom to express who people are, and in the best beauty. Freedom to exert its good inner power without being imposed, bound, and trampled upon.
The role of teachers
All children are curious, eager to learn, competent, able to improve their knowledge, understanding, and very creative. Children are always interested in exploring things that are related to their needs and interests, which can lead to a greater understanding and a desire to learn more within them. Therefore, the role of a teacher in the Reggio Emilia training is very influential in figuring out how to plan or continue to push the learning of children. In other words, teachers must observe and listen to children carefully.
The teacher then uses the experiences through listening and understanding the child, as well as begins to ask questions and explore their ideas to explore all aspects from hypothesis to theory. They will then discuss together what they have heard and observed. Even though recording your child’s conversations with yourself or with each other, multi-faceted notes, to create flexible plans and prepare yourself for the next step.
The role of Reggio educators is considered as a program researcher and innovator, based on co-creation and learning, exploring young children, and working with colleagues. Teachers in Reggio Emilia classrooms have to study, reflect, and listen to the child to develop the children and improve group expertise. Besides, educators must always work closely with colleagues and parents to perform an educational, engaging, provocative, community-based learning environment.
The role of environment
The learning environment of schools, classrooms, and common areas plays a significant role and is considered as the third teacher in the Reggio-inspired preschools. Its mission is to welcome children to come and participate in active activities. Reggio Emilia preschools are where the “lessons” of the children are presented in detail by pictures, teachers, and parents.
It conveys a lot of messages for children, the most important thing for adults to grasp the quality of education and the sharp guidance they give them by interacting with their surroundings. Classes in a Reggio Emilia preschool are seen as living and thoughtfully organized to promote creative discovery while encouraging interaction and communication.
The Reggio Emilia classrooms are often connected, the windows and doors are made of transparent glass to ensure children can observe and interact with the entire space in the school. Entrances always draw attention to both children and adults through the use of mirrors and images (on walls, floors, and ceilings). The classroom’s interior is arranged as a showroom for project products and learning materials.
This is the characteristic of the Reggio Emilia education model. Documentation is central because it provides necessary information for those who are interested in learning about the Reggio Emilia approach. It also allows children to look back on their own experiences. Schools can restore documentation in various forms, such as pictures, transcripts, audiotapes, films, or notes from children’s actual work.
Photos, sound recordings, films, or other children’s products that demonstrate the child’s experience through visual media exhibited as a mark of learning activities, and that is also the driving force for children’s learning later. Taking notes and displaying products helps children to rebuild emotions, ideas, and understand more about themselves.
Reggio Emilia Environment
The environment of learning or schools plays a significant part in the Reggio Emilia training. Children flourish in environments that adapt to their interests and steps of development. In the Reggio Emilia principles, the learning environment is the point that helps to foster children’s imagination, creativity, and curiosity. It is delightful, genuine aesthetically pleasant, culturally symbolic of the community, naturally comprehensive, and provided with practical matters.
Loris Malaguzzi once considered the Reggio Emilia environment of learning or classrooms as a place in which children would learn how to share, build relationships between them or teachers and parents. The salutary factors available in the standard environments must be able to help to promote communication, interactions, emotional expression, and social skills. Therefore, the researchers often see the Reggio Emilia environment in philosophy as the third teacher.
Thanks to the Reggio Emilia training methods, some Reggio-inspired educational programs, schools and classrooms, and other children’s education places understand that it is crucial to perform a rewarding Reggio Emilia environment for children. And that can only be achieved by creating an atmosphere that can foster creativity and learning lessons of children, encourage children to learn how to explore, and ask questions.
Moreover, teachers, educators, and families must have a firm grasp of the child’s developmental steps and take advantage of practical and creative materials and documentation needed for learning and creativity scientifically arranged in learning spaces in the educational process. Educators would view children as learners who have outstanding potential, competence, and competitiveness, and are not dependent or need a lot of help from others.
Children must always be in a cooperative relationship with their educators and those around them. And that would lead to the things that they would tend to be in harmony with their parents, families, and communities. In other words, the Reggio Emilia environment is the reflection of children’s living and development in a real-life setting.
Fundamental Principles – What Are The Core Values Of The Reggio Emilia Approach
Do you know what are the fundamental principles of the Reggio Emilia approach? Here are the core values of this educational method you need to know:
Children actively participate in learning
Each child is individually the one who proposes and creates his or her interactions with the surrounding environment. Therefore, the Reggio Emilia environment must support children to pursue their interests, but still, be under the guidance of experienced instructors.
For example, if children are enthusiastically fond of building games, the instructor will provide them with the colorful, diverse designs made of other materials that can stimulate the light and creativity of children. And from there, educators would support and develop children’s existing ideas.
It is an ingenious way that the teacher adds so that the child can develop their skills of calculation and problem-solving. In other words, this is one of the fundamental principles of the Reggio Emilia approach.
Environment plays an extremely significant part
As mentioned above, the learning environment in the Reggio Emilia Approach is one of the factors that make up the value of this educational philosophy, which acts as a third teacher. Reggio Emilia schools, classrooms, or other places of education are equipped or decorated with materials and items that are close to reality and stimulate and support children’s ideas. And the standard environment is one of the Reggio Emilia fundamental principles.
Besides, the learning space can be divided into separate areas for different functions. Children will always be guaranteed to explore, play, and realize their ideas in a standard Reggio Emilia environment.
The teachers-parents-children relationship is collaborative in the learning process
About the Reggio Emilia training, children will learn through interaction with their surrounding relationships, especially the interactions between them and their parents, teachers, and classmates. In which, parents will have a primary collaborative role and have close relationships with teachers and schools to help children in learning.
For instance, schools that apply this Reggio Emilia philosophy can organize events for parents and students, let parents participate in theater performances with children, or share experiences with parents to support the education process.
Children learn how to collaborate and communicate in their communities
Reggio Emilia emphasizes the philosophy that tells learning based on interactive relationships. Therefore, children are encouraged to develop working skills in small groups, based on the belief that children will form their ideas and identities through interaction with colleagues, adults, and the world around them.
According to Reggio Emilia philosophy, it would be more salutary if children learn how to express themselves, such as their views, ideas, or feelings through any means like communication, movement, drawing, art, construction, design, and more.
Children can use a variety of materials and documentation to explore, communicate, and even express their insights, feelings, questions, or fantasies. The teachers will then be responsible for creating conditions for children to explore their surroundings.
Give children practical experiences based on creativity
Educating children, according to the Reggio Emilia philosophy, is a challenge for teachers and parents, but the values it brings are tremendous. The training of preschool children by this method will maximize the depth of learning for children in cognition and the world around them, helping them develop more comprehensively.
From the practice of applying the Reggio Emilia principles, we realize that it is never too early to give children the spirit, understanding, and tools to explore the worldview. Let children experience reality about the worldview around them by themselves, which is known as one of the core values of the Reggio Emilia Approach.
Creative activities will include natural materials such as wood, gravel, sand, and more. And the location of classes can be outdoors or places that are close and in interaction with nature.
Reggio Emilia Approach vs Montessori
Montessori is one of the leading educational methods with the longest life span. So what are the fundamental differences between Montessori and Reggio Emilia Approach? Let’s find out through the following factors.
The Reggio Emilia approach is mainly for preschools and primary schools. Meanwhile, Montessori education is adaptable in preschools, primary schools, and even secondary schools. The Montessori method tends to focus more on learning and academics. In specific, the Montessori concentration on working rather than playing.
Montessori aims to that objective that educates children to develop personal skills. Children would learn things such as impulsiveness, processability, predictability of results. As well as guide them to follow a set of goals.
Meanwhile, the Reggio Emilia Approach exceptionally concentrates on skills of teamwork and collaboration to solve problems, creativity, and create startling ideas.
Montessori’s curriculum is systematic and coherent. The teachers will prepare thoroughly materials and documentation used in the learning process. Children learn well-planned and detailed curriculums.
Reggio Emila curriculum considers teachers, parents, and children as partners. Ideas are freely connected and exchanged between children and teachers. Methods of learning emphasize problem-solving, and children can be involved in the learning process.
Learning Spaces And Environments
In Montessori classrooms, the arrangement is often simply to create a quiet space for children so that they can focus on interactive activities with the learning documentation.
However, in the Reggio Emila classrooms, there are different types of learning materials for children to experience and explore. Classroom decorations will help all parents, guests, and teachers participate in the learning process. Children can interact simultaneously with the documentation and other classroom members during the learning process.
Problems With The Reggio Emilia Approach
As we all know, the curriculum of the Reggio Emilia Approach is quite adaptable, practical, and mainly based on children’s interests and passions. The purpose of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is to make conditions for children so that they can have positive activities in the classrooms and feel excited enough to maintain learning and exploring.
In the Reggio Emilia schools, children are encouraged to engage in hands-on activities related to cooperation, problem resolving, and more. Teachers play a role in assisting children in self-discovery while providing the right resources for each child so that they are free to discover what they are curious about, whether in nature, art, engraving, literature, music, architecture, etc.
However, problems with the Reggio Emilia Approach is that every educational method can not be suitable for all children, and it is not the exception.
Unlike traditional preschool classes, Reggio Emilia schools do not have a thorough curriculum because education and plans are made based on children’s interests. So it can be a little out of control. You need to consider whether the child will fit into the Reggio Emilia training methodology or the more carefully established learning programs.
Reggio Emilia Approach For Toddlers
Toddlers in the age of infancy stage need to have access to appropriate and scientific-educational methods that can stimulate their inquisitive learning and potential right from early childhood to pave the way for their development long after.
Luckily, the Reggio Emilia early-childhood program focuses on stimulating children’s creativity and artistic ability support. Therefore, with the Reggio Emilia approach for toddlers, children will be given the best opportunity to promote creativity as well as hone the necessary skills of art and interaction. And at the same time, support them in exploration, and provide them with knowledge about the world around them.
Toddlers can soon be exposed to a modern educational environment, practical items, and learn how to collaborate with others such as parents, the community, and those around them. Besides, children can learn and play at the same time and participate in active activities related to the areas that children are gifted in, such as music, painting, literature, sculpture, visualization, etc.
Reggio Emilia Activities That Popular In Reggio-Inspired Preschools
Thanks to the diversity and flexibility of the Reggio Emilia curriculum examples, the activities at the Reggio Emilia preschools are very engaging and inspiring that can release discovering senses in children. Reggio-inspired classrooms provide stimulating structures, daily materials, and hundreds of areas with distinct features arranged scientifically. All of that is for children to enjoy and participate in the learning process in the best way.
To find out what activities involved in Reggio Emilia curriculum examples popularly, let’s look at the following sections.
In Reggio Emilia preschools, educators will build specific types of spaces with materials and tools for each child to play and explore. These spaces and materials will give the best impression of sight and stimulate visual learning. In particular, art learning spaces or craft facilities are neat and clean, while items and materials are always available inside. Therefore, children can take advantage of the learning process to practice and be creative at any time.
Reggio Emilia teachers will provide children with significant artistic materials such as chalks, watercolors, pencils, clays, and charcoal to try it out in the classrooms. Besides, there are all types of art instruments, pigments, and textural materials available to stimulate children’s utilization and creativity.
It’s always sure that through access to art and familiar resources in the Reggio Emilia preschools, children are allowed to create works and learn through their passions and interests. Whenever students discover colors and textures through their time using watercolors or modeling with clay, they are applying their creativity and aptitude to better experience the world of art with Reggio Emilia activities.
Musical Instruments Playing
Hearing learning is one of the best learning styles and is characteristic of many children. According to Oxford University Press, children innately have a nervous system that responds to sound and ultimately creates the music they want. Because of that, with Reggio Emilia activities, you will find there are many exercises in which children interact a lot with musical instruments and sounds.
In Reggio Emilia classrooms, it is not difficult for you to encounter musical instruments such as egg shakers, guitars, xylophones, tambourines, gongs, bongos, and other types of musical materials. Through playing and interacting with these instruments, children will become familiar with rhymes and melodies and move their bodies in sound and connect with the movements of those around them.
Exposing children to diverse musical instruments belonging to different cultures and traditions also allows them to approach and learn about the people and the musical arts of each place in the world. Children will be able to learn how to create their music and voice through the teacher’s guidance, helping them to have full Reggio Emilia activities about feelings and cooperation through musical materials.
Dramatic playing is a way for children to interact with others and learn more about cooperation when it is taking turns to create opportunities for others. This will help children develop emotions, confidence, creativity, and improve emotional and social skills.
Besides, Drama activities prepare children with life skills by simulating real situations. Children will understand how things work, from which they will realize what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, in the Reggio Emilia activities, there will be drama exercises in which the teacher will provide children with costumes to act as fantasy characters or ones in fairy tales such as princesses, kings, animals, or traditional costumes of countries around the world such as sari, hanbok, kimono, etc.
Scenes or theater to play will be arranged right in the classroom, promoting children to improve imagination and creativity when transforming their classrooms into different landscapes and places. Through drama activities, children will practice drama, communication, and learning skills combined through their senses and collaborative relationships with other children in their community.
Immersed In Nature
As we know, the environment plays a significant part in Reggio Emilia training that is shown in so many various activities of Reggio Emilia preschools, especially when children participate in exploring activities outdoors or immerse themselves in nature and discover the things around them. The curiosity within children leading them to observe and learn about things and events in the world. Moreover, immersing themselves in nature also brings children unexpected positive health effects.
Through the process of experiencing nature with friends, children feel their subjective value as well as the joy of life. The motor activities will help their brain to think positively and reduce negative thoughts. Exposing children to nature will make them know how to vibrate with beauty, nourish the human heart, and much more.
Children would learn with all their senses. When children study through books, newspapers, movies, most of them only develop vision and hearing. But, if they are allowed to experience the vast nature, their nose will smell many scents, they can touch the flowers, leaves, animals, and listen to many sounds from the wind, birds, and more. The new and fascinating nature always stimulates every child’s senses, and that will surely become unforgettable vivid lessons.
Benefits Of Reggio Emilia Training
Through the above analysis, you can see that the Reggio Emilia approach has these benefits:
- Stimulate children’s curiosity and observation.
- Help children explore the world around them, thereby creating a love of learning in children.
- Help children develop imagination and creativity through activities such as drawing, modeling, and painting.
- Develop the ability of cooperation and teamwork of children.
- Help children love and protect nature.
Also, there are many other positive effects that children can receive when they have the opportunity to access the Reggio Emilia training. If this method of education is suitable for your child, they will have a remarkably beneficial development stage.
After reading the article, I hope now you have all the essential information you need to know about the Reggio Emilia Approach.
To sum up, I hope you find the best educational method that is suitable for your children for their comprehensive development. And if you plan to let them go to Reggio Emilia schools, you won’t be disappointed after all. If you have any questions, drop a comment in the section below. I’ll give you the answers as soon as possible.