The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It is a constructivist, student-centred pedagogy that focuses upon self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. Stemming from Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the villages around Reggio Emilia, Italy, the community readdresses their own collective responsibility and reformed their system with parental involvement in the educational process .
With a self-guided focus on personality development, the ideas led to an emergent curriculum derived from conversation between child and forming in-depth projects from gathered concepts and teaching how to use symbolic languages, such as painting, sculpting and drama in everyday life. The Reggio Emilio approach views young children as individuals who are curious about their world and have the powerful potential to learn from all that surrounds them. Educational, psychological, and sociological influences are important factors to consider in understanding children and working to stimulate learning in appropriate ways - forming four key philosophies :
- Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
- Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing;
- Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that they must be allowed to explore
- Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
Alongside this, the focus is placed on exploring the role of representational development and
the teacher is considered a co-learner and collaborator with the child as a partner to the child's multi-formed interests by implementing the process of observation and documentation of participation. Reggio teachers provide children different avenues for thinking, revising, constructing, negotiating, developing and symbolically expressing their thoughts and feelings. Specifically highlighted, is the direct correlation between the physical environment, named the "third teacher," through integration of the classroom space with the surrounding environment: the rest of the school, and community the school is a part of. Natural light, indoor plants and central piazza systems is focal to the planning and aesthetics, with displays of project work are interspersed with arrays of found objects and classroom materials. In each case, the environment informs and engages the viewer allowing interaction and a continual process of adaption.
Further Research : Research trip to Reggio Emilia, Bologna awarded by the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust Travel Grant to commence 2020