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This Reggio Talk

February Message from Deb
 
Recently during a conversation with a parent, I was asked “What is this Reggio talk all about?”  I realized that I have much to share about Reggio-Emilia, a philosophy of working with young children. 
 
PIC follows a “Reggio-inspired” philosophy. The Reggio approach to early childhood education originated in a region of Northern Italy, where money was intentionally spent on creating high quality early care and education programs for young children. 
 
Their thinking about children, curriculum and classroom environments earned the program world-wide prestige, and during the 1980s also earned it the title of “best early childhood programs in the world.”  
 
Since then, educators across the world have flocked to the Reggio region to learn more and gain inspiration from the many elements of the philosophy applicable to our own programs.
 
Here are perhaps some of the most known and crucial elements in the Reggio Emilia approach and certainly ones that have inspired our thinking at PIC.
 
1.  Learning based on interests
The Reggio Emilia approach views children as strong and capable and who acquire knowledge through their natural curiosity and creativity. Their interests are an important part of their own learning. PIC embraces this type of “Emergent Curriculum,” and our teachers are careful observers of children’s play and interests when developing topics of study.
 
2.  “Depth” as opposed to “Breadth”
Curriculum topics of study usually last for a number of weeks (if not months) and are quite in-depth.  Preschool-age children may participate in a lengthy study of “Things that Fly” that takes them in multiple directions, while our youngest children may learn all about “Paper” or “Boxes” for many weeks. It is children's interest that drives and deepens their learning. 
 
3. The classroom is a “third teacher”
For the last several years, our classroom upgrades have reflected Reggio thinking. Our classrooms are open, comfortable, and welcoming spaces filled with natural materials.  PIC teachers have very intentionally created their learning environments. The setup enables small and large group projects. Such collaborative learning encourages children to “talk, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize and problem-solve.” 
 
4. Learning is documented
PIC teachers are dedicated to documenting the progress of learning over time. The approach believes such documentation should be done, for the most part, in a visual manner. So teachers take pictures and save children’s work (such as drawings, works of art, and children’s own words) to display them in and outside of the classroom, making learning visible. 
 
5. The many ways kids learn
Reggio believes that children have an endless number of ways of learning, referred to as the “Hundred Languages of Children.” This is reflected in the many materials, methods, instruments, activities, ideas, and tools used by teachers. Look for this in our morning “invitations for learning,” which are often creative assemblages of materials that welcome children into the classroom and invite them to engage in hands-on learning.
 
Those are some of the ways we embrace Reggio thinking at PIC. It is a very hands-on approach to learning and discovery! Please email me at dgreen@parentinfantcenter.org with any questions or to learn more.
 
Thank you for entrusting your child in our care!