WHAT IS THE REGGIO EMILIA APPROACH?
The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences – Loris Malaguzzi
The Reggio Emilia approach to learning was founded in the small city of Reggio Emilia, in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Out of the aftermath of WW11 came a hope for change and the desire for a new form of education that would ensure against future generations being brought up in toleration of injustice and inequality. With a small amount of money sourced from the selling of a tank, three trucks, and a few horses from the war, and with land contributed by a local farmer and building materials from bombed-out buildings, local men and women of all ages built the first post-war school for young children in the village of Villa Cella, seven kilometres from Reggio Emilia.
Loris Malaguzzi, a local primary school teacher, was an influential and inspirational figure behind this new educational movement and what became the development of the Reggio Emilia approach. Malaguzzi was determined to help build a better future for the children and families of Reggio Emilia. Inspired to learn more about very young children, he trained as a psychologist and became a leader in the parent cooperative movement, supporting parents, families and teachers in the education of their young children. Malaguzzi believed passionately that all children are competent and capable thinkers and learners as well as creative communicators and conversationalists.
At ExploraTots, we are inspired by Malaguzzi and the pioneering work he started all those years ago. We see babies and children as leaders of their own learning, filled with excitement and ready to explore the world around them. Our highly-trained and passionate class leaders deliver expertly planned classes, enabling children to discover passions and interests, while supporting their early learning and enabling them to make the next steps in their development.
Using the Reggio approach at home.
Are you interested in Reggio-inspired parenting? You can start from the moment your child is born! Here are some ideas for how to incorporate the Reggio Emilia approach into your child's life:
Provide toys in natural materials where possible. This could mean; wood, rubber, metal, glass, sponge, fabric etc.
Be aware of the way in which you speak to your baby, toddler or child. Ask them questions (“Can you see the cat? I wonder where he is going?) and show them things (“Look at the tulip. It has red edges on the petals.”)
Let them know what is happening, (“We are getting ready to visit Grandma").
Give realistic time-frames. Do not say, "I'll just be two seconds", if in fact you are going to take 5 minutes.
Use age appropriate explanations but try to use the correct names for things. Even if they seem complex, using words such as the correct scientific names, will give your child a rich foundation in language and make them feel valued and grown-up!
Observe your child as they play and explore and adapt the environment to suit their interests. If they show interest in putting objects into containers and tipping them out again, provide a selection of pots, pans or boxes with lids to enable them to further their exploration.
Allow your child the time to master something. This can be easier said than done and can take quite a bit of patience, especially if you are in a rush! Allowing them to stop and wonder about the leaves on the ground or persevere to grasp the toy that is just out of their reach, will afford them a sense of accomplishment, fuel their curiosity and provide wonderful opportunities to learn together.