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Reggio Emilia

What does it mean to be “Reggio-Inspired?” The Reggio Emilia approach was developed from a city-sponsored educational system for young children, in a town in northern Italy with the same name. The Reggio Emilia approach to education is commonly recognized as one of the best programs for young children worldwide. Educators from around the world go to Italy every year to see this exceptional philosophy in action. Because in Italy this approach is integrated into the local government, community, and its people, it cannot be replicated exactly in the United States. However, as a Reggio-Inspired school we adopt the core values and beliefs of this approach to educating young children. Such principles include:

The Image of the Child             

Children are strong, capable, independent, curious, and full of potential. Teachers empower children to think, question, investigate, explore, and help navigate the journey of learning.

Emergent Curriculum

Teachers observe and document children's interactions with each other and their environment, their discussions, and their interests. By providing opportunities for children to learn based on these observations, the curriculum “emerges” from children’s interests and ideas.

Project Work

Our teachers facilitate this emergent curriculum through project work, which allows children to explore these areas of interest in detail. Teachers are thoughtful about incorporating opportunities to explore in all content areas, from art to music to early language, math, science, literacy, and nature experiences, in support of the project. By exploring projects of children’s interest in great detail, children learn to interact with one another and the adults in a mutually respectful manner. They become excited by the learning process. This combined with the ability to experience project work in detail, foster a predisposition for “life-long” learning.

The Role of the Teacher

The teacher is viewed as a partner in learning, with the children. By listening, observing, and documenting children’s work, the teacher is able to help guide children’s learning experiences and explorations, and “co-construct” knowledge.

The Role of Environment

The environment of the school (its classrooms, common spaces, and playground) is viewed as the “third teacher.” The environment is a reflection of our school's philosophy, the children, teachers, and parents who live and learn here. It is home-like, thoughtful, imaginative, inviting, and shows respect for our image of the child.

Parental Involvement

Learning takes place not just within the school, but also at home and throughout the community. We encourage parents to be involved in their child's interests and explorations and to share their enthusiasm for learning. We ask our families to join us for special events and participate whenever possible in the daily life of the school. We provide an integrated learning community, where teachers, parents, and administrators work together to meet the needs of the children.

Documentation

By documenting the children’s work through photographs, video, written word, displays, portfolios, etc, our teachers relay the story of the children’s early childhood experiences. Every child has their own portfolio, consisting of art work, photographs, information related to developmental milestones, and more. Activity plans, documentation  boards, and daily reflections explain the work of the children, and communicate the life of the school to our families and visitors.