REGGIO THREEs and FOURS
The Reggio system is constructivist based, similar to the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky. A Reggio classroom can be described as one in which each child’s intellectual, emotional, social, and moral potentials are carefully cultivated and guided. The principal educational vehicle involves children in long term engrossing projects, which are carried out in a beautiful, healthy, and nurturing setting. Reggio teachers know how to listen to children, how to allow them to take initiative, and yet how to guide them in productive ways. This approach fosters children’s intellectual development through a systematic focus on representation of their learning. Children are encouraged to explore their environment and express themselves through all of their natural “languages,” or modes of expression, including words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play, and music. The visual arts are integrated into the work simply as additional “languages” available to young children not yet very competent in conventional writing and reading. There is much partnership between teachers and parents and classrooms are organized to support highly collaborative problem-solving in small group project learning. Whenever possible, two co-teachers work together with the same children for 2 years, and guide joint, open-ended discovery. By systematically documenting the process, the teachers provide the children with a concrete and visible “memory” of what they have said and done. The classroom environment is built to maximize quality social encounters, the use of light, and use of displays for documentation of the children’s work. Project work is that part of the curriculum in which children’s interests, ideas, preferences, and choices can be given relatively free reign. Extended studies of particular phenomena undertaken in project work give young children an early experience of knowing and understanding a topic in depth. Early experiences of feelings of mastery may also lay the foundation of a lifelong disposition to seek in-depth understandings of topics worthy of their attention. The representations the children create with such impressive skill can serve as a basis for hypotheses, discussions and arguments, often leading to further observations and fresh representations. Using this approach we can see how children’s minds can be engaged in a variety of ways to gain deeper understanding of the familiar world around them. Children’s role in the teacher-child relationship is that of apprentices. This relationship has several benefits. Children’s minds are engaged in challenging work which includes making decisions about what to represent, how to represent it, how to coordinate the efforts and resolve conflicting views of the various contributors to the project, and so forth. Teacher’s minds are also engaged thus they generate activities that contribute to developing children’s more appropriate understandings of a topic. Thus the teacher-child relationship is rich with problem setting and problem solving.
Extended time in the morning Reggio classroom will include projects, discovery from learning activities in the classroom and exploration in the redwood grove community, the courtyard sand/water and gardens, the treehouse dramatic play, the playnasium movement room and the art studio. The morning will also include a short group time with stories and songs, a snack with our family group and some reflection about our morning. Children will enjoy a community lunch together mid-day and begin their afternoon with a planning time for further project work. Math, Science, Reading, Writing, Social Studies and Gross Motor will always be an integral part of our projects throughout the day. We’ll end our day at 12:30pm with closing songs, stories and reflections. This classroom will participate in our Music Together Pre-school Program. Our Reggio classroom will participate in all of our traditional Children’s House celebrations throughout the year. Assessment of children will include Desired Results, conferences with parents and teacher written observations.
Thinking skills and the ability to build meaning and construct knowledge are central in this classroom both morning and afternoon. We are opening this class because statistics show the growth of content means that schools can no longer be focused on teaching content in the form of discrete pieces. The Reggio classroom will equip your child with skills to think and question, and then learn about those things of greatest interest.
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