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Going to Reggio Emilia!

October 13, 2009

duplicity* OK, he’s actually in Rome here, but I just wanted an excuse to insert a Clive Owen picture.

Hello all [five of you]!!  I’m happy to announce to you that I will head to Reggio Emilia, Italy, on Friday.  I’ll be there to attend Reggio Children’s study week on documentation (and to eat).  I am thrilled to be going with three of my collegues to learn  directly from the people who do so much to shape early childhood education, in such a special town.

After World War II, the town was given municipal money, and decided to use this money to fund schools for the very young.  Although the money didn’t cover all they wanted for the schools, the community chipped in to make it happen . . . local farmers and grocers donated food, those with building experience helped lay the foundation, and families came together to determine what would be important for their children in these new schools.  The community played a vital role in the creation of these infant/toddler centers and pre-schools, and involving the community continues to be a cornerstone of the approach.  These are the roots for the Reggio approach.

Sixty years later, the educational philosophy emanating from Reggio Emilia has touched the far corners of the Earth.  Rather than a program or curriculum, Reggio is a philosophy to educating the very young that puts the child at the center of his or her education.  The Reggio approach acknowledges that children have rights, rather than needs, and it is not the teacher’s job to “fill the empty vessel,” but to help guide the child on his own path of learning.  In Reggio Emilia, schools are places where the exchange of ideas occurs between teachers, children, parents, and the community.

“Consider children not for their lackings, but for what they are able to do.”

The teachers of Reggio Emilia have drawn from Bruner, Piaget, Dewey, Gardner, Montessori, and other educational theorists, challenging their ideas and taking them further to support early childhood education.  At the crux of the approach is the idea that teachers are learners, and that the process of learning has no end.  In this idea, teachers work with students to construct knowledge, actively listening to the child’s theories about the surrounding world.  Adults must be able to put aside their ideas to support those of the children.

I know there are many more cornerstones of Reggio, such as the learning environment and documentation, which I hope to elaborate more on later.  In the meantime, feel free to add any of your thoughts on the topic!

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Ciao, bella!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Robin permalink
    October 15, 2009 5:35 am

    The guiding principles are wonderful, but don’t be afraid to direct. Creativity and voice often come from having parameters that allow the child to find their way. (At least, that’s my opinion.)

  2. October 15, 2009 3:09 pm

    You are so fortunate to be going to spend time in Reggio Emilia, I am immensely envious. I attended a conference here in Australia, with three teachers from Reggio as guest speakers and it was truly fascinating and inspiring, to see it in person would be incredible.

    I look forward to reading about your adventures.

    • laurenmeyer permalink*
      October 16, 2009 10:57 am

      I’ll be blogging about my experience next week, so stay tuned!

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