OUR REGGIO APPROACH
Reggio Emilia is a movement towards cooperative early childhood education, where the inquisitive mind of each child leads its own journey of discovery and learning.
Combining the National Curriculum with the best Reggio principles
In the UK, a formal education is important and we understand the crucial role we have to play in this. However, we know children’s brains are most susceptible to learning from birth to five years and it’s our intention to maximise this potential. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, we’ve established a unique approach of our own, a ‘Prepatoria Education’.
With a low ratio of children to adults, we ensure that children are able to spend quality time with their teachers and key persons. Key persons spend time observing the interests of children and use what they see to inform planning across all age ranges. This ensures that topics and themes are developed in-line with children’s current interest.
Adult-led activities introduce children to new ideas and knowledge, based on a secure knowledge of the skills children need and how they learn.
Our children are encouraged to use language to investigate and explore relationships and to reflect on their experiences. We believe children use many, many different ways to show their understanding and express their thoughts and creativity; we actively encourage them.
Our aim is to ensure that all children leave us capable, strong, resilient, confident, numerate and able to read and write.
We’ve created an environment in which each child is loved, respected and developed as an individual. A place where all staff are well qualified, where children have access to a full time teacher every day. Where the curriculum for children is designed and delivered at the optimum point of learning each day. Where each child’s perspectives are valued and their emotional and individual needs come first.
What is Reggio Emilia?
THE REGION AND THE ORIGINATION OF THE APPROACH
Reggio Emilia is a small town in northern Italy. After the second world war the inhabitants of the town recognised the need to work together to create an educational system that would enable children to become strong citizens.
The approach recognises that for children to become strong citizens a family needs the support of the community. The Reggio Emilia experience has been influencing early education across Europe since the 1980’s.
The philosophies of Reggio Emilia include the belief that children are citizens with rights and those rights must but be supported and promoted by all adults. They believe that children communicate in many ways (The 100 Languages of the Child) and that these ‘languages’ must be supported by adults and through the environment. Reggio Emilia Centres are designed and arranged to provide beautiful, inspiring, provoking resources in an environment that is rich and stimulating.
Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach, wrote:
“……we consider the environment to be an essential constituent element of any theoretical or political research in education. We hold to be equally valuable the rationality of the environment, its capacity for harmonious coexistence, and its highly important forms and functions. Moreover, we place enormous value on the role of the environment as a motivating and animating force in creating spaces for relations, options, and emotional and cognitive situations that produce a sense of well-being and security.”
Each Reggio centre, whether purpose built or redesigned, has within it a central ‘Piazza’ These spaces are places where the children, staff and parents can meet to communicate, play and share. The Piazza within each centre captures the essence of Italian life as it mimics the place in each town or city where people and visitors meet. Here they drink coffee, eat and share the time of day with one another. The Reggio Emilia approach recognises that children need to watch, hear and meet with adults in order to grow, develop and learn the skills of life and to share their own ideas.
In Reggio Emilia, baby and toddler settings and pre-school centres do not move children from adult to adult but instead children stay with one main carer for at least three years.
Educators in Reggio work in partnership with parents in a comprehensive way recognising the centrality of parents and educator partnerships to the child’s life.
Whilst the educators in Reggio Emilia tells us that it is not possible to completely transplant the philosophies of Reggio to other countries and educational settings, it is acknowledged that it is possible to fully implement many of the philosophies. The Italian culture is different to our own and here in the UK we have a curriculum, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for all children which must be followed.
Many settings choose to implement a small number of elements of philosophies of the Reggio Emilia approach. At Shrewsbury Prepatoria we aim to implement the approach as fully as possible across all age ranges.