I'm continually inspired by the Reggio approach. I'm not an expert, but have spent a few years trying to learn as much as I can. It isn't a strict pedagogy. There aren't any specific protocols for what it means to be a Reggio school. Reggio-inspired schools can look different, as they're meant to reflect the diversity of their families, and the needs of their children.
Reggio Emilia is a town in Italy that went through a transformative phase in the period after World War 2. Led by psychologist Loris Malaguzzi, schools for infants and toddlers were remade into progressive and child-led centers which viewed the children as capable, curious and ambitious constructors of their own knowledge. Teachers were taken from their traditional role as instructor into a role of co-learner, and mentor. This aspect really stands out to me as a key component in our Reggio program. Children each have a voice and are capable of lending knowledge, and of leading projects. It's important to encourage them each as important members of our community.
In Reggio schools, the environment is also carefully considered. It is said to be "the third teacher" (after the child's parents, and the child's teachers). Reggio schools usually bring as much of the natural world indoors as possible. Classrooms feature neutral colors, natural light, and clean, organized spaces. Materials are usually multi-use and "open-ended", to encourage children's natural creativity. For example: silk scarves can be used as blankets, dresses, purses, or tablecloths. Wooden blocks can be train tracks, telephones, and doll beds.
In the Reggio teachings children are said to have "one hundred languages". This means they need space, time, and materials to explore their world. Children each find ways to express themselves through free play, dance, music, painting, sculpting, sorting, and a multitude of other activities - it's important that they're given opportunities each day to do so. Lella Gandini, a leading advocate for Reggio Emilia, wonderfully said, “Children have great potential and desire to explore, construct and learn. If it is not in the hands or in the heart, then it can’t be in the head.” Schools in Reggio Emilia usually feature an art "atelier" and a dedicated "atelerista". I'm so happy that Sweet Day has our light and bright Art Studio to use as our own art atelier.
I'm continually inspired by early childhood education; theory and practice. It's such a rich topic and endlessly fascinating. I hope to continue learning, and to continually adapt and improve our program. Below are a few links if you'd like to read more: