The Reggio Emilia Theory
The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It is a pedagogy described as student-centered and constructivist that utilizes self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery through a self-guided curriculum. At its core is an assumption that children form their own personality during early years of development and are endowed with "a hundred languages", through which they can express their ideas. The aim of the Reggio approach is to teach how to use these symbolic languages (e.g., painting, sculpting, drama) in everyday life. It was developed after World War II by psychologist Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the villages around Reggio Emilia, Italy, and derives its name from the city.
How Reggio Emilia Theory is being used and Seeds and Sprouts Childcare
We have embraced the Reggio Emilia approach in our program, this can be physically seen in how we have chosen to decorate our space, the materials that we have chosen to use and how we use them.
We believe that nature is our third teacher, and try to embrace this in as many aspects of our program that we can. We have plant and animal life throughout the centre – this helps the children to learn to respect and care for our environment.
A typical Reggio environment has a neutral and natural setting. Rather than having bright shelving with plastic buckets that are filled to the top with plastic toys, we have natural wood shelves with smaller fabric baskets with enough toys in it to encourage play with a smaller group of children. The toys that we have in the space reflect the use of imagination, rather than a closed ended toy (IE wooden blocks and lego, rather than TV themed toys that only have one purpose)
We believe that the children bring the color into the program!
We believe that every child learns and develops at their own pace. We follow what is known as Emergent Curriculum. This form of programming begins with observation to determine a child’s interest vs having a plan already that requires a “hook” to get children interested. Through observation, we can determine what the children’s interests are, and dig deeper through experience and engagement. Because our programming is interest based, the programming only changes once the interest has been satisfied. This means that our programming could last a few days or a few months!
We also have a strong belief in the Learning Through Play approach. This means that our educators will set out activities with a purpose, and then give the children the opportunity to explore it through play. For example, children could learn about cause and effect in the water table with items that sink and float – what the items are, and how they are introduced depends on age and developmental readiness.
We do bi-annual developmental screens with the children who attend our program. This helps us to be able to work with our families to develop goals for each individual child, which in turn helps to guide us with our programming. We can set out activities with the purpose of helping each child to meet their goals. We can also use these screens to determine if a child may need some extra support in meeting their developmental milestones (most commonly speech). Members of our Team have been trained to implement and score the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ/ASQSE) which can also be very helpful in supporting each child within our program.