In the modern world of elementary education, there are many options available to parents and their children. One of the schools growing in popularity and preference is based on the Reggio Emilia approach.
Reggio Emilia inspired schools to offer an alternative, child-centered approach to learning. Many parents see it as the best fit for their child – but is it the best fit for yours?
The Reggio Approach believes in child-led curricula. This means that the teacher has the freedom to mould the curriculum as per the needs of the child and the class. The teacher also keeps in mind the weather and anything unique happening in the locality. To this extent, the curriculum is flexible. It believes that the learning must always be true to life.
Unlike traditional elementary schools where the curriculum is extremely structured, a Reggio Emilia curriculum is flexible, hands-on, and largely interest-based. This approach allows children to guide their own learning experiences, based on their passions, interests, thoughts, and observations. The purpose of the Reggio Emilia approach is to empower children to take pride in their own education so that they have positive experiences in the classroom and feel passionate to continue to learn and explore. Children participate in hands-on activities that encourage collaboration and problem-solving, both in the classroom and beyond. Teachers provide resources for each child to explore their interests and curiosities, whether that is in nature, art, books, music, building, or other areas of the classroom.
The curriculum and independent learning style is something important to consider when looking at the pros and cons of Reggio Emilia.
The classroom environment plays a huge role in a child’s educational experience. The Reggio environment is equipped to support its flexible, hands-on curriculum. The Helen O’Grady International Preschool, for example, is an elementary school that uses the Reggio Emilia approach – and the learning environment reflects this learning method to facilitate growth. At Helen O’Grady International Preschool, state-of-the-art classrooms are set up with resources and materials, like costumes, music, art supplies, and other creative materials that encourage and empower children to take control of their learning.
One of my favourite parts of a Reggio Emilia approach is the Atelier or workshop space which encourages children to indulge in expression of their thoughts via art. Music, dance and drama form a very important part of the curriculum. The help children to learn how to speak better and express better too.
A Reggio Emilia inspired school encourages parents to be a part of the school and take on several roles such as teaching assistant, sharing talent, training children in music or dance or art, celebrating various cultural events in school and so on.
Nature plays a very important role. All the teaching and learning material in the school is borrowed from nature. Most Reggio Inspired schools believe in loose parts play, a term strongly connected to open-ended play parts. Open ended materials, environments, and experiences encourage problem solving and are child centered. Children involve themselves in concrete experiences using loose parts, which lead to explorations that occur naturally, as opposed to adult directed. However, adults do play important, intentional roles in preparing, guiding, and documenting open ended learning experiences.
A Reggio Inspired School would have the following spaces:
- A natural play area
- A playground
- An indoor environment
Parents play a very important part of the Helen O’Grady International Preschool. They share knowledge, art, cultural events, and festivals in the school.
A Hundred languages:
A Reggio Inspired School believes in honing as much expressive art as possible in the child. The child therefore can express his or her thoughts, ideas, and feeling in any way he or she chooses, and the teachers are trained to recognize, observe, record, and document.
All children immensely enjoy the Reggio Approach and parents do too. It hones the most important skills of Creative Expression, Communication and Critical thinking in children and prepares them for lifelong learning.
The Helen O’Grady International Preschool uses the Reggio approach and has seen tremendous success in its endeavor to bring creativity to the forefront of preschool education. You can follow the Facebook page @HOGInternationalPreSchool
Ready to enroll your child in Reggio Emilia Education?
Then you have landed the right place!