- What is your program’s curriculum?
Our program uses an emergent curriculum. We observe and talk to children about their interests and then build the curriculum around those interests. Our children conduct in-depth projects in which they use inquiry, hands-on learning experiences, and special visitors and/or trips to find answers to their questions and deepen their knowledge about a particular area. We incorporate learning standards from Louisiana’s Birth to Five Early Learning Development Standards and Teaching Strategies Learning Objectives into our lesson plans to ensure children are developing the appropriate skills for their developmental level.
- What is the Reggio-Emilia Approach?
The Reggio-Emilia approach is an educational philosophy developed in Reggio Emilia, Italy. It is based upon the belief that children are competent, creative individuals who are active contributors in their growth and development. Teachers are trained to listen to children and use thought-provoking questions and dialogues that support children’s learning.
Some of the differences you may see in a Reggio-Emilia inspired program in comparison to other programs are:
- Hands-on learning activities using various materials as opposed to worksheets
- Ample time for children to learn through play (both indoors and outdoors) in which teachers promote inquiry and discovery through the preparation of the environment and interactions with children; as opposed to children engaged in short periods or play with little/no teacher interaction.
- A focus on positive guidance strategies that encourage self-regulation such as talking about problems and natural consequences (for example, pick up an item that is thrown on the floor) as opposed to utilizing external cues to control behavior (i.e. color charts, time out, sticker rewards, etc.)
- Curriculum topics that are selected with the children’s input that often develop into long-term projects as opposed to calendar-driven topics that are pre-selected without regard to children’s interest or experiences.
- What are some of the core tenants of the Reggio Emilia approach?
- The environment as the third teacher – how we prepare the environment, the materials we set out for exploration and other elements in the environment such as lighting and displays contribute to a child’s learning (in addition to the child and teacher).
- 100 languages of children – children express their knowledge in various ways (not just verbal responses) including visual displays/art, dramatic play, buildings, etc.
- Long-term projects – children lead projects and can work on an aspect of a project over a long length of time depending on their interests
- Teacher-researcher - the teacher not only provides information but observes, listens, and documents learning and uses the information gained to guide the curriculum.
- Image of the child – the child is considered “competent, creative, curious, full of potential and ambitious entity” (Gandini, 2012; Malaguzzi, 1993);
- Negotiated learning - children’s ideas are given serious consideration throughout projects including during planning, reflections on experiences, and documentation (Santin & Torruella,
- Social relations –children actively construct knowledge during their interactions with others; children are co-constructors of their learning, rather than passive recipients (Malaguzzi, 1993).
- How do I know my child is learning?
Teachers develop digital learning portfolios that document through pictures and descriptions how a child is progressing in various areas of their development (social, cognitive, language, motor, etc.). They also track progress using an assessment tool called Teaching Strategies Gold. Parent teacher conferences are held twice per year.