The Reggio Emilia philosophy and approach to early childhood education has developed and continues to evolve as a result of over 40 years of experience within a system of municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Parents, who started the schools in the 1940s, continue to participate to ensure the schools reflect the values of the community.
From the beginning, the late Loris Malaguzzi, leader, philosopher and innovator in education, who was then a young teacher, guided and directed the energies of those parents and several teachers. Through many years of work with them, he developed an education based on relationship, which has become widely known and valued.
The Reggio Emilia approach is built upon a solid foundation of connected philosophical principles and extensive experience. Educators in Reggio Emilia have been inspired by many early childhood psychologists and philosophers, such as Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Gardner and Bruner.
Parents are a vital component to the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. Teachers respect parents as each child’s first teacher and involve parents in every aspect of the curriculum. It is not uncommon to see parents volunteering within Reggio Emilia classrooms throughout the school.
This philosophy does not end when the child leaves the classroom. Most parents who choose to send their children to a Reggio Emilia program incorporate many of the principles within their parenting and home life. Even with this bridge between school and home, many people wonder what happens to Reggio children when they make the transition from this style of education to a non Reggio Emilia school. The answer is that there is some adjustment that must take place.
In most school environments, intellectual curiosity is rewarded, so students continue to reap the benefits of Reggio after they’ve left the program.
The influence of the Reggio Emilia approach is being felt increasingly in government and non-government schools across Europe and North America.
In our own region, there is a conference in Singapore from 4-6 March called The Reggio Emilia Approach to Education: Experiences in Dialogue, at which Amelia Gambetti and Emanuela Vercalli from Reggio Children will present the experience of the Municipal infant toddler centres and preschools.
Download the conference flyer at http://childcarewa.com/files/admin-images/Reggio_Conference_Date_Claimer.pdf
A study tour to Reggio Emilia has been confirmed for the 12th-16th April, 2010. For details, go to:http://www.reaie.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=68&Itemid=179
Read more about Reggio Emilia in Australia at http://www.reaie.org.au/