Early child education is effective in cultivating children’s academic ability and skills. In recent years, it has also played a role in developing children’s personality and curiosity. It is important for parents to let their young children try a variety of classes (like sports and language programs) and find out which activities they excel in.
The “Reggio Emilia Educational Approach”, an educational method which began in Italy, has become a center of focus among education specialists in recent years for its ability to expand children’s potential. Under this approach, children are encouraged to express their personality through art and crafts and the curriculum is planned and executed by the children themselves. What makes this approach different from the educational approach until now? In this article, we will cover the “Reggio Emilia Educational Approach” including its special characteristics and how it is practiced.
The “Reggio Emilia Educational Approach” is a theory developed in the town of Reggio Emilia, which is in the Central Northern part of Italy. The theory has become popular around the world as an educational theory that encourages children to develop independence and curiosity through art and play activities. According to this educational theory, “100 children will have 100 different ways of thinking” and teachers should follow the lead of the children through active learning projects. Teachers spend 3 months to 1 year on one art project and explain how to display the project and manage the project to their students.
●Free style projects that encourage curiosity
Under the “Reggio Emilia Educational Approach”, teachers are trained to pay close attention to their students’ inclinations and emotions. They try to come up with projects that will encourage their students’ curiosity and determine how they will lead the project, what materials they will use and how they will express themselves based on their observations and discussions with the students. As a result, teachers respect the curiosity of their students and there is no restriction on how activities are done and how things are expressed. There are no regulations regarding the class layout and how it is decorated.
●Learning about each child by recording their activities
Teachers record all the children’s ideas and thoughts and post them in the classroom. By recording the details of each activity and project, teachers can learn about each individual child’s interests and strengths. This also allows children to see the ideas and thoughts of their peers, which leads to a stronger sense of independence. It is easy for adults to share new knowledge and play activities but if children are encouraged to move on their own, they have the opportunity to learn from each other and gain new skills.
What role should adults play in an educational approach that recognizes the importance of children making decisions and taking actions on their own? Under the “Reggio Emilia Educational Approach”, adults are not expected to teach their students using a top-down approach. They instead are encouraged to talk with the students, bring out their ideas and support them in expressing themselves. In a traditional “Reggio Emilia” classroom, teachers and artists work together to help children learn how to express themselves. Teachers bring out each child’s interests and the artists share how the children’s ideas can be expressed.
A child’s education does not only take place at school or daycare. It is important for parents to work with their child’s educators to bring out their child’s interests and improve their skills. What does your child like and what is he/she good at? Parents can help their children gain new abilities by listening to their children and following their lead.