Why Reggio Emilia?
My favourite lecturer at uni nine years ago ignited the first spark of my now passion for early childhood teaching. She showed us her photos of her trip to Reggio and tour of the early childhood centres there. I'm kicking myself that I haven't been to any of the centres as I'm sure I've travelled past the town by train two or three times over the years. One of my friends at work told me the other day that when she came to the centre for her interview she asked about the centre's philosophy. They told her it was based on Reggio Emilia. Interestingly, although the centre does promote many of the practices of the Reggio Emilia philosophy, many members of staff probably aren't aware of this or what it involves. Good idea for training, I might suggest it!
Reggio Emilia philosophy has several main principles:
- That the environment is considered to be the third teacher
- That parent partnerships and involvement should be encouraged
- That the teacher is seen as a co-learner and facilitator
- That plants, natural light and a shared, open learning space is used (called the piazza)
- That community involvement is encouraged
- That there are a hundered languages of children (ways that children express creativity and learning)
- That long-term projects are encouraged
- That children's conversations are recorded as evidence of learning
These principles fit in nicely with the framework, which encourages us to create learning environments, involve parents and the community, engage in shared learning with children, enable children to develop as effective communicators by expressing themselves in myriad ways, support children in extending and building on their learning, and assess children's learning by documenting and analysing it. I believe that we should be open to all philosophies and evaluate them through the lens of our own understanding and experience, but based on the similarities between Reggio Emilia and the EYLF we probably should develop a greater understanding of the philosphy. I'm sure the Italians knew what they were on about!