The Reggio Emilia approach.

The name ‘Reggio Emilia’ comes from the city of Reggio Emilia located in Italy. It is worldwide recognized for its innovative approach to learning. The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based on  4 principles.

One of these are that ‘children must have some control over the direction of their learning’ (Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini and George Forman, 1998). I strongly agree with this because I believe that children learn more out of sessions that they have interest in. During my 7 week placement I learnt that when I observed children, observed their interests and planned a session including what their interest is, I realised that they take in more information.

Another principle is that children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing. I personally think that this is also a principle that should be used to give the children the best opportunity to learn. It is important for the children to learn through sensory play because from the very first day they are born children are designed to explore the world via their senses. That’s why babies and toddlers touch everything and put it in their mouths. It’s why kids make funny noises with their mouths and experiment with how the world sounds with their fingers stuck in their ears. It’s why children spin in circles until they are so dizzy that they fall down and then get up and do it again. I believe children will not learn unless they experiment with their senses.

The third principle is that children should have relationships with other children and with material items in the world that they must be allowed to explore. I also believe that this is an important principle in a child’s learning. Children must have relationships with other children and play with peers to learn from each other. During my placement I noticed that children who are more social with their peers are more successful with their writing and talking. I believe this is because playing with their peers encourages them to talk more which develops their reading and writing.

The final principle is that children must have endless ways and opportunities to express them selves. This is also important for the children’s learning because allowing them to express themselves encourages them to communicate what they like and what they want. I also believe that this prepares the children for the world at large through giving them experience at such expression and interpersonal contact.

Moreover, parents are also an important part for the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. Teachers respect parents as each child’s first teacher and involve parents in every aspect of the curriculum. It is not uncommon to see parents volunteering within Reggio Emilia classrooms throughout the school.

Dilan Kasisari.

References:

The Hundred Languages of Children, Reggio Emilia Approach- Advanced Reflections, Second Edition, Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini and George Forman, 1998.

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