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Principles Of Reggio

Image of the Child
“Curious, creative, competent, full of wonder, rich in ideas, keenly interested in the world, able to construct and co-construct their own learning” is a phrase frequently applied to children in the Reggio Emilia Municipal Preschools, in contrast to a view of the child as weak, dependent and limited in capability. The image of the child is an integral part of the teacher-child relationship, in which the teacher’s aim is to empower children to explore the world and create meaning. As teachers embrace this image of the child in their mind, heart, and actions, the children they teach will eventually assume this image for themselves and grow as active inquirers and constructors of personally meaningful information.

Teachers listen to and observe children’s actions, intentions, conversations, statements, emotional expressions, and representations. They listen and observe in order to discover the children’s interests and ideas, curiosities, strengths, feelings, and meanings. They reflect on what they have heard or observed, and respond by providing learning opportunities, challenges, and facilitative structures to children.

Documentation is an aspect of listening and observing. Teachers record moments in children’s learning by writing notes, taking photos, making and transcribing audio recordings, videotaping, taking dictations, and collecting children’s work. These records provide a focus for teachers’ interpretations of children’s interests, feelings, and ideas. Documentation is brought to teacher planning meetings, often posted in the classroom or in accessible binders as an ongoing point of reflection for teachers, children and parents. In time, some of the documents is integrated into formal presentations (portfolios, posters, PowerPoint presentations, etc.)

Co-Construction of Understanding 
People construct understanding together through collaboration and dialogue (e.g., teachers with children, children with children, teachers with teachers, etc.)

Multiple Perspectives 
Children and staff are encouraged to share and consider multiple points of view in relation to a question or object of inquiry. Doing 

so expands the range and/or depth of their understanding. A Reggio example in this regard would to have one child observe an object from a ladder and another from a position on the ground. The two children compare their perceptions and discover that their descriptions of the object are significantly different.

Children represent and communicate their observations and ideas both during the process of engaging the world and from memory. An important aspect of children’s representations is their use of multiple symbol systems (modes of communication) in their acts of representing; for example, communicating through some combination of verbal language, drawing, clay, wire, painting, gesture, and so on. Hence Reggio’s use of the term “The Hundred Languages if Children."

Children revisit and re-examine their experience and object(s) od study. They also revisit representations and those of others. Revisiting inva

riably stimulates children to make further sense of their previous experience, to make new observations and to observe understandings and to evolve understandings and representations that go beyond the previous ones, utilizing additional perspectives and/or materials. Teachers revisit when examining and interpreting documentation of children’s learning or when re-examining some aspect of the classroom process or environment in order to listen and observe more closely. 

The Learning Environment 
The emphasis on the learning environment in the Reggio Approach starts with the classroom space, which is constructed carefully by the teachers to invite and guide children’s explorations, to promote small-group collaborations, to encourage the making of representations, and to feature the children’s ideas and identities prominently. The learning environment also includes other classrooms, common areas in the school building, the school grounds, the neighborhood, and use of the city to provide rich opportunities for children’s explorations.

Teacher Collaboration 
Teachers reflect together and with other staff on their observations and documentations, then plan their responses to children and hypothesize possible outcomes. They also collaborate in implementing activities and the overall management of the classroom. This includes ongoing profession development for teachers.

Emergent Curriculum 
Emergent curric

ulum is a joining of the nine previously stated Reggio principles. It is an extended learning process that is propelled by the children’s interests, ideas, discoveries, and a sense of wonder as they explore a particular area of inquiry, guided by teacher scaffolding. The focus and the form of the learning process are emerging constantly as teachers take cues form observing and documenting what children are pursuing and representing, and from how children are experiencing what they are doing. Although the emergent curriculum may be guided by a broad set of teacher objectives (such as introducing literacy skills), it does not involve a predetermined set of activities or predetermined outcomes because it is evolving constantly from the children’s ex

pressed learning energies and motives. It is made possible by teacher reflection and facilitation based on taking the child’s perspective, and connecting these with the teacher’s interest in children’s learning.
Parent Participation
Parent participation emphasizes the pursuit of relationships with parents devoted to the development of the children and is characterized by dialogue and collaboration. Just as the image of the child is the propelling force in teachers, relationships with children, the image of the parent as competent, interested, and rich in ideas is at the center of the school’s establishment of relati

onships with parents.

Note: The above content was taken from: We Are All Explorers: Learning and Teaching with Reggio Principles in an Urban Setting, p.3-5

Notes from the Singapore Eton House Reggio Emilia Conference - April 2012
Detailed and insightful notes taken by the ELC teachers at Nagoya International School who attended the conference