The Reggio Emilia Approach is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education which values the child as capable and resilient; rich with wonder, inquiry and knowledge. It celebrates that each child brings with them a deep curiosity for what is going on around them. This innate curiosity and wonder drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it.
Children are driven by their interests to understand and know more. They are viewed as competent, curious, full of knowledge, potential, and interested in connecting to the world around them. Teachers are deeply aware of children’s potentials and construct all their work and environment of the children’s experience to respond appropriately.
There is a strong focus on social collaboration, working in groups, where each child is an equal participant, having their thoughts and questions valued. Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others. Creativity and artistic expression are highly valued. Individual exploration and group collaboration are equally emphasized.
Communication is a process, a way of discovering things, asking questions, using language as play. Playing with sounds, rhythm and rhyme. Children are encouraged to use language to investigate and explore, to reflect on their experiences. They are listened to with respect, believing that their questions and observations are an opportunity to learn and search together. It is a process; a continual process. A collaborative process. Rather than the child asking a question and the adult offering the answers, the search is undertaken together.
The environment is recognized for its potential to inspire children. An environment filled with natural light, order and beauty. The space within the school or the environment is considered another teacher to teach the children about themselves and the space around them. Teachers intentionally organize, support and plan for various spaces for children. The daily schedules are planned to ensure that there is a balance between individual, small and large group activities, child directed and teacher initiated activity and inside as well as outside experiences.
Our role as adults is to observe (our) children and students, listen to their questions and their stories, find what interests them and then provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further.