Reggio-influenced teaching and learning is an approach to education that encourages children and their teachers to explore, question, discover and acquire skills of critical thinking and collaboration in beautiful stimulating environments. Children express interests and ideas, research for further information, reflect on the experience and form conclusions. Through this process, children develop confidence and independence with encouragement from parents, teachers and community members.
The Reggio approach is not a formal model like Montessori, with defined methods, teacher certification standards and accreditation processes.
1. Emergent Curriculum: builds from the natural curiosities of children. Sometimes it will emerge from the children’s interests or may also be sparked by the teacher strategically putting out a provocation to see how the children respond or by posing inquiry-based questions that deepen learning and understanding. Teachers may also create a curiosity by reading rich literature, taking advantage of real life experiences outside and within the community, and by deeply listening and responding to the thoughts and ideas of children. Teachers also support the ongoing development of projects which are by nature cross-curricular and thereby support the intellectual, emotional/social, physical, artistic and aesthetic development of children. They also observe students carefully and act responsively to develop engaging and rich learning experiences that are relevant to the children.
2. Project Work: in-depth studies that develop out of children’s ideas, questions, and interests. Projects may last for short or extended periods of time and may involve individuals, small groups or the whole class. With teacher support children choose what materials to use to support their explorations and how to research, share and re-represent their learnings. Projects involve collaboration which supports the development of cognitive, communication and social skills. Students are also encouraged to negotiate, discuss, critique, compare and problem solve during project work, all important aspects of the child’s ability to self-regulate behaviour.
3. Representational Development: The arts play a key role in Reggio influenced practice and are integrated into daily activities to maximize children’s development. Children will regularly spend time in the art centre or atelier and frequently participate in dance, drama, music, movement instruction and play; all part of the hundred languages of children.
This is consistent with Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Howard Gardner has done collaborative research with teachers from Reggio Emilia and preschool through secondary school teachers and teacher educators in Massachusetts for over 10 years on the Making Learning Visible (MLV) project through Project Zero. The research findings draw attention to the power of the group as a learning environment and documentation as a way to see and shape how and what children are learning. MLV addresses three aspects of learning and teaching:
- What teachers and students can do to support the creation of learning groups in the classroom.
- How observation and documentation can shape, extend, and make visible children's and adults' individual and group learning.
- How teachers, students, and others are creators as well as transmitters of culture and knowledge.
4. The Role of the Environment: The environment is seen as the third teacher (children and teachers being the first two). Careful consideration is given to the look and feel of the classroom environment; indoors and out, which are organized for small, medium and large group project work. Areas are also designated for dramatic play, gross motor activity and free exploration. The outdoor environment is explored in every season with follow up activities in the classroom.
5. Documentation: of children’s work in process is an important tool for teachers, parents and children. On a regular basis teachers scribe children’s conversations around learning and wonderings, take photographs, videos, and audio recordings of children in action and the words they use to describe their learning experiences. These are used to communicate with parents about their child’s learning on an ongoing basis and to support teacher planning that is responsive to the needs and interests of the children. As children develop metacognitive skills they will also be able to document and share their learning experiences with others. Parents should always feel fully informed about their child’s development in a Reggio influenced school.
6. Parent Involvement: Parents are respected by teachers and seen as true partners in education. Their input and response to their child’s learning is encouraged, for example, as part of the documentation process. Teachers should have frequent contact with parents regarding their child’s learning and development.
7. Sense of Community: Educators work together with all children, families, and community partners/members to create a strong identity and interconnectedness that supports all learners.
Why Reggio Influenced?
Models personalized learning through emergent curriculum and responsive pedagogy.
Supports student engagement and self-regulation.
Involves parents and community as true partners in supporting learning.
Honours all children by building on their gifts and strengths.
Builds and supports collaborative practice between children, teachers and parents.
The program is offered at Meadowbrook Elementary starting September 2012.
Please note: The application deadline for September 2013 has now passed.