Wϋndercare’s founder, Kettia Ming, created and operated Smarter Toddler based on the Reggio Emilia method. But what/who exactly is Reggio Emilia? Reggio Emilia is most commonly associated with an approach to early learning that has garnered international attention. Less is known about the origin of the Reggio Emilia approach, which is, in fact, Reggio Emilia itself!
Reggio Emilia is a beautiful city in Northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. After World War II ended, the residents set about rebuilding their lives. Working parents who now required childcare banded together to develop a community solution for education. It was truly an “it takes a village” occurrence. They chose a new and progressive approach to learning for their young children, one that fostered individuality and curiosity.
According to Dr. Carol Brunson Day, CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition, the first school was financed by the selling of a German tank, nine horses, and two military trucks. The school building itself was made of stone, sand, and timber gathered by the villagers. A true community effort indeed, and these values of community and shared responsibility are evident in the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach, as led by the efforts of Loris Malaguzzi, the philosopher teacher who became the school’s first director.
The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education empowers children to harness their creativity and curiosity into natural and powerful learning opportunities. Young learners are encouraged to solve problems, communicate, and express themselves freely.
Keep reading to learn about some of the principles of Reggio Emilia.
No two classrooms follow the same curriculum. Instead, subjects and projects are determined by the interests of the children. Conversations with the families and the children themselves, along with classroom observation, set the stage for a curriculum that is fluid, flexible, and child-centered. Ways in which parents and the community can participate and contribute are also taken into account for a completely supported educational experience.
The Reggio Emilia model theorizes that children, like many adults, learn best by doing. Students are able to choose concepts and develop projects with guidance from their teachers. These “adventures” provide hands-on experience in problem-solving, collaboration, and logical thinking. They can be simple and short-lived for just a few days or a week, or they might be more complex and in-depth, lasting for many months.
The Hundred Languages of Children
Reggio Emilia takes into account all the many ways a child may express themselves and the infinite potential inside every child. Because each will have a unique world view and different ways of relating to the world, the Hundred Languages include a variety of artistic expressions, writing, playing, performing, etc. This ensures children will be able to connect with the representations that resonate with them the most, and exposes them to many of the wonderful ways in which they can view their community, their environment, and their friends.
Learning to work cooperatively with those around you is a key tenant of the Reggio Emilia philosophy. The community, families, teachers, students, and classroom are interconnected and designed to work in harmony. Interpersonal skills are fostered, and every child is encouraged to contribute to conversations, share ideas, and make a positive impact on their environment.
Reggio Emilia is a complex and immersive learning philosophy beyond the core principles outlined above. Central to this approach is the important role of the teacher, to learn with and from children even as they act as guides on the educational journey.
Teachers play a key role in another tenant, which is to observe and document learning and growth as a means of collecting information; this allows for them to evaluate progress, successes, and areas for development.
The “third teacher” at a Reggio Emilia school is the school itself (i.e. the classroom). The environment is carefully designed for easy access to objects and activities that inspire a child’s curiosity and exploratory nature. It is set up to be comfortable, welcoming, and interesting.
Want to know what else was carefully designed for easy access? The WϋnderCare childcare app, of course! Like the Reggio Emilia schools, WϋnderCare believes that community is central to learning.
We help build connections between staff and parents with simple-to-use tools that enhance the student experience. Build a better community with WϋnderCare. Schedule a demo today!