Originally developed in the 1940s, the Reggio Emilia concept--a child-education philosophy--is experiencing a rebirth in preschool and child care settings. Many high-profile schools and daycare centers are jumping on board. For example, Google recently adopted the philosophy to use in their child care facility. Even if your program hasn't adopted the philosophy officially, some core concepts of the philosophy may still be present in your child's curriculum. Following are three such concepts that are being implemented in preschools, child care centers, and elementary schools everywhere.
In this philosophy, children are not expected to simply absorb information fed to them by an instructor. In fact, the instructor lets the child take the lead. The curriculum is fueled by the child's natural curiosity. For example, if a child shows interest in a particular object, the instructor helps them explore it and learn all they can about it. Instead of teaching concepts, the instructor becomes a friend that goes on a journey of discovery with the child. It is thought that this approach fosters curiosity in a child and a love for education.
Children are encouraged to express themselves or their understanding of a learned concept in a multitude of ways, and the child gets to choose which method they want to use. Mediums for expression include art, song, dance, story-telling, writing, etc. What this means is that your young child can demonstrate what they are learning using a medium that feels comfortable and natural to them.
In a Reggio Emilia classroom, several students may be learning the very same thing but in a unique and different way. For instance, during a lesson about the sky, one student may draw a picture of the sky while another simply stares out the window in wonder. Through both views, the instructor is there to guide them and answer their questions.
Focus on Experience
This philosophy focuses on the experience and process of learning rather than the product. Instructors following this philosophy take pictures or videos of the children while taking notes about how each child approached the project. Often these notes and pictures are sent home so the parents will know what their child learned about, how they learned about it, what questions they asked and so forth. Talk with a professional, like Kid's Country Child Care & Learning Center, to see how to best engage your child's learning approaches.
Many preschools and day care centers have started using concepts adopted from this philosophy. Yours might have a curriculum based on at least one of these concepts.