A (brief) introduction to Reggio Emilia

I shared a month or so ago that I am now working at a Reggio-inspired child development center full-time now. I also threatened… um… I mean proposed… that I would be writing a little more about the Reggio Emilia influence on early childhood education. While many readers of my blog might be familiar with Waldorf education, another method that has greatly inspired me, curriculum modeled after the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy might be less well known.

It has been pointed out to me many times that the schools that are in Reggio Emilia, Italy do not actually care for it when schools elsewhere call themselves “Reggio Emilia preschools”.  The Reggio schools have grown and evolved over the past 50 years and are steeped heavily in the traditions and partnerships painstakingly brought together by the children, educators, families, and community. When philosophy and pedagogy are born from such unique, unreplicable circumstances, can any other program truly be called by that program’s name? No. (And, to go on a bit of a rabbit trail, this is a question that has always plagued me about Waldorf education as well.)
 
So, I would like to begin a series of blog posts on Reggio Emilia-influenced methodology. I’m going to take my time and it will take as long or as short as it takes. But I am thinking there will be a series of blog posts on the following topics:

  • The intellectual traditions within which the Reggio philosophy has its roots: European and America progressive education, Piaget and Vygotsky’s constructivist theories of education, and European post-modern philosophy. I find these topics fascinating and feel they have applications for homeschooling and group schooling alike.
  • The “pedagogies” of Reggio Emilia, which include a pedagogy of well-being, a pedagogy of good taste, a pedagogy or relationships, a pedagogy of continuity, a pedagogy of participation, a pedagogy of documentation, and a pedagogy of culture.
  • The Hundred Languages of Children
  • The role of the child: the child as protagonist, as expert, as collaborator, and as communicator
  • The role of the environment as the “third teacher”
  • The roles of the educator: partner, nurturer, guide, and researcher
  • Parents and communities as partners in learning
  • The role of documentation

There are some crossovers with Waldorf education, but make no mistake about it—this is a completely different animal! Still, I’ve seen some educators marry the two philosophies beautifully, most notable being Sally over at Fairy Dust Teaching.

This won’t be all I’ll be writing about. We have our own family summer adventures—this summer our lit theme (and trust me, I’m using the word very loosely) is The Magic Tree House as well as plenty of summertime songs, projects, recipes, and rhymes.

Thanks for taking this journey with me!

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