When adults believe and trust in children, children learn to trust themselves. Reggio teachers create a safe environment for children to take risks and learn from mistakes, build confidence in their abilities, and develop the grit and determination required for success.
Scaffolding. Learning towards mastery of life. Acquisition of cognitive and social skills.
The Reggio approach originated in a small town called Reggio Emilio at the conclusion of World War 2. The residents of the town set about rebuilding their lives and reconstructing their societies. The women of this time were an influential force behind the development of early childhood services and the preschools of Reggio Emilio were born out of their desire for a new form of education that would ensure that future generations of children would be tolerant and just towards one another.
Loris Malaguzzi was a local school teacher at the time who witnessed the building of the first school by women and children of the town and was impressed by what he saw. He trained as a psychologist and became a founder and influential figure behind the development of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Having experienced fascism and war in his childhood, he was determined to build a better future for the children and parents of Reggio Emilia who were devastated by the affects of the war.
In classrooms that embrace co-constructed learning, children actively participate in the teaching and learning process. Skilled teachers seize upon children’s innate curiosity and sense of wonder through careful observation and documentation of their play. As teachers discern what inspires children, they develop an emergent curriculum that targets their interests while ensuring that each child is progressing in their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. This inquiry-based approach allows children to steer their own learning. Children are developing math, social studies, literacy and scientific skills through the co-constructed study of what interests them and is relevant to their daily lives. Whether they are trying to figure out how a zipper works, what makes flowers grow, how water turns to ice, or how to collaborate with a friend to construct a block structure that won’t topple, our teachers help facilitate their learning. They support children by helping them organize thinking, create plans and find the tools needed to solve problems and work collaboratively.
"I have come increasingly to recognize that most settings are a communal activity, a sharing of the culture. It is not just that the child must make his knowledge his own, but that he must make it his own in a community of those who share his sense of belonging to a culture. It is this that leads me to emphasize not only discovery and invention but the importance of negotiating and sharing in a world, of joint culture creating an object of schooling and as an appropriate step en route to becoming a member of the adult society in which one lives out one’s life."
- Jerome Bruner
Why Reggio Emilia?
Through our open-ended approach to education, children make their own choices and forge their own paths. They acquire the skills necessary to become independent thinkers and creative problem solvers.
Children are encouraged to work collaboratively with their peers to pursue goals and answers to their queries. Reggio teachers create opportunities throughout the day for children to practice communication and active listening.
Children learn in a physical and emotional environment that is open-ended and lovingly planned to be joyful, magical, and satisfying to them. This imbues them with a deep love of learning. Since their first experiences with knowledge acquisition are so wholesome and positive, children develop a lifelong thirst and passion for knowledge and learning.
The environment is thought of as the third teacher. Our school environments are beautifully designed to promote a sense of joy, magic, and well-being and to inspire curiosity, wonder, and passion for learning.
Adults who master “soft skills” of listening, empathy, and connecting to others, as well as independence and grit, are more likely to succeed both professionally and personally.