The Reggio Emilia approach encourages teachers to be facilitators of learning and to enjoy learning alongside the children.  In our early childhood classrooms children help to navigate the course of study.  Projects completed in a Reggio inspired class are often long term and involve trial and error to complete the product.  More open-ended projects are introduced, and the children’s involvement is well respected and encouraged.  Many projects require space to be displayed or stored until the elements are complete.

Example:

Last fall the children were studying kangaroos and other marsupials in the afternoon session.  While outdoors, two boys discovered that some leaves resemble the foot of a kangaroo.  From that discovery one of the boys suggested that the class make a kangaroo from leaves.  On the first day an outline of a kangaroo was drawn, and some children collected and glued leaves onto the drawing.  After discovering the leaves did not adhere to the paper, the children suggested that the leaves be crushed.    The second day the children painted with glue and then sprinkled crushed leaves onto the poster.  Since the crushed leaves did not completely cover the white areas of the paper, the children concluded that torn paper should be added.  On the fourth day of the project the children decided the vacant spaces needed more color, and they chose to use wood chips, brown paint, and mud.  Reggio projects often take many sessions to complete, and the children learn to use trial and error to complete the final product.

Philosophy:

  • Children naturally learn from nature and their environment.  The environment encourages them to research.  The learning of the children is considered “lighting a flame not filling an empty bucket”.
  • Technology is used to answer questions and gather research.
  • The learning is a spiral of ideas and experiences that are collaborated in groups.
  • The theory of Reggio-Emilia is to build on our future, our children.

Documentation

  • Photos are great ways to involve parents.
  • Parents are invited to participate in the child’s experiences.
  • Illustrations reveal the thought processes of the children.  Young children cannot express themselves as well verbally, so they need other ways to communicate (called the Hundred Languages of Children)
  • Journal and cameras are used to record experiences.
  • Circle meetings are conducted to discuss discoveries and experiences.

Teacher’s Role

  • Step back to allow the children to make discoveries.
  • Unique thoughts are allowed to emerge.
  • Time is given for discoveries and inquiries to develop.
  • Allow children to have their moment of discovery.
  • Enthusiasm is encouraged.
  • Natural curiosity is supported.
  • Provocations are set up in the classroom.  Provocations are prompts for discussion and exploration.
    • Children are invited to the table
    • The child is allowed freedom at the discovery area.
    • Open discussions are encouraged.
  • Teachers document the conversations of the children
  • These documentations are used for ideas of investigation.
  • Cameras and journals are readily available.

Project Planning

  • Reflection:  Go back over plan and discuss the results with others.
  • Balance:
    •  Planning and exploration
    •   Allow for change
    •   Planning may need to be recorded in retrospect.

Discoveries

  • Teachers remain quiet while discoveries are occurring.
  • Allow for the experiences to emerge.
  • Encourage observational drawings.
  • Allow for the child’s theories even if they are not correct.

Display

  • Pictures are displayed with child’s words.
  • Books are displayed for children and parents to view.
  • An open area is created for display of projects and artwork.

Resources

  • The Diary of Laura:  Perspectives on a Reggio Emilia Diary
  • The Wonder of Learning:  The Hundred Languages of Children
  • The Hundred Languages of Children