“…a hundred worlds to discover
a hundred worlds to invent
a hundred worlds to dream.”
Loris Malaguzzi, pioneer of the preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy
The curriculum is inspired by the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. This approach encourages young children and their teachers to explore, question, and discover in stimulating environments. Children express ideas and interests, research for further information, reflect on the experience and form conclusions. Through this process, children develop confidence and independence with encouragement from teachers, parents and their community.
At the heart of the Reggio philosophy is the belief that children are strong, competent and born ready to learn. They are full of emerging ideas and creativity; they are not simply empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge. For all children, this process begins by developing trusting relationships. Teachers and children then begin to understand each others’ expressions of wonder, excitement, confusion and joy. Often, one child’s excitement is spread to others in the room.
The curriculum is flexible and emerges from children’s ideas, thoughts and observations. Children identify what they want to learn about: maps, aquariums, horses, books, lines, stained glass windows, ice, houses, or anything else that captures their interest and imagination.
Children form their own hypotheses and try to answer their own questions. Caring, respectful teachers help them learn to ask good questions and guide them toward answers, rather than answering their questions for them. Teachers use the classroom and outdoor environments to provoke new experiences and inspire learning. Parents are encouraged to continue these conversations with children at home or to participate in the classroom as volunteers.
Children learn more about the topics they have chosen by exploring the world. Sometimes this involves bringing the world into the classroom. Classes invite guests such as artists, authors or architects to talk with them. They create worm bins, books and fish habitats. Outdoors, children observe plants, trees, the weather and hundreds of other things that capture their interest. Children explore their interests in the Studio and Outdoor Classroom. Teachers observe, participate in, and document children’s experiences in order to make thoughtful decisions about how to develop curriculum.
As children engage topics that interest them, they learn to work together collaboratively and respectfully. Education is based on relationships, exchange and communication. Children have opportunities to build meaningful, deep relationships with those within their community.
Children express their thoughts and feelings about what they have learned through a variety of means such as art, music, language, dance and play. For example, a classroom studying fish made an aquarium, sculpted a hammerhead, read books about fish, hosted a guest speaker from the Georgia Aquarium, and assembled their ideas about fish into a book. Another classroom studied maps and made maps of the Preschool as well as the church campus.
Teachers share the children’s learning and insights with the Peachtree community through detailed documentation. As the school year progresses, the walls are covered not only with the children’s work, but also with documentation of the children’s thoughts, ideas and growth through their projects. Teachers provide parents with web pages, photos and written documentation of daily life in the classroom.
Reggio Children www.reggiochildren.it
Project Zero www.pz.harvard.edu