Our Philosophy

Reggio

Originating in the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy, this project and art based approach has been called the "world’s best childcare", whose learning focus is on the discovery process as opposed to the end result. The Hundred Languages of Children: The central idea of Reggio Philosophy, is the recognition that children are unique and will express themselves and learn about their world through life exploration and discovery, applying new experiences to their existing knowledge - for example through sculpture, music, painting, drawing, singing and drama. The possibilities and combinations are endless!

The Project

Projects are at the core of the Reggio curriculum, developing something like this:

  1. Children work in small cooperative groups.
  2. A topic is chosen based on the children’s’ interests and needs.
  3. Teachers collaboratively brainstorm (web) with the children.
  4. The subject and sense of group is explored through questions, materials exploration, walks, drawings, books, etc.
  5. Deeper research and perhaps a field trip will further uncover exciting information and new connections and discoveries may be made.
  6. The teacher explores and charts the children’s’ ideas, directions and desired media of expression.
  7. The teacher provides rich resources and continues to listen, ask questions, follows their lead, facilitates learning, provides challenges and problems to solve.
  8. Documentation continually takes place to track the children’s progress and for lesson planning.
  9. Communication during project meetings helps children remember and continue to meet their goals.
  10. It is an ongoing process: Discuss - Explore - Represent - Discuss….

The Teacher’s Role

The teacher acts as a collaborator, a guide, a resource, a listener, a learner, a researcher, and an active participant in the learning process alongside the children. The teacher continually plans and revises the curriculum based on her understanding and evaluation of the children’s work as it progresses. Think, if you will, of a Montessori teacher as being like a Shakespearean classical actor and, a Reggio teacher, an improvisational actor - each excel at their fine craft but use and apply very different and equally important skills to bring out the very best in the different natures and abilities of each a child.

Documentation

A key part of the process is the recording of the children’s’ experiences through photographs, videos and capturing the dialogue, typically including samples of a child’s work at different stages of completion and transcriptions of the children’s’ discussions. Documentation serves as a visual reminder of what they have done, deepens the child’s learning, allowing him/her to gain confidence by reflecting upon the experience, provides the child the opportunity to clarify new understandings and be stimulated by his/her own results and the work of others. Careful, close observation/documentation of the children’s’ experiences guide the teacher in finding vital gaps a child may have in their knowledge of a topic and, assists the teacher in practicing the art of "progettazione", or the flexible planning of each day to further the exploration of topics of interest.

The Environment

The environment is presented in an esthetically harmonious and inviting way so as to act as the ‘third teacher’. The art "atelier" is a well-stocked creative learning center organized to build skills and stimulate imagination, creativity, socialization, exploration and discovery. A rich variety of art media, materials and resources are made readily available in a classroom designed as an extension of the home with care taken to preserve natural light. The environment is prepared and explored within a context that is meaningful and related to the interests of the children. Careful attention is paid to create attractive art displays conveying to the children that their efforts, ideas and intentions are taken seriously.