This is not a free journey but neither is it a journey with rigid timetables and schedules; rather, it is akin to a journey guided by a compass. (Rinaldi, C., ‘The Pedagogy of Listening’, lecture given at the International Winter Institute, Reggio Emilia, January 1998)
The Putnu dārzs international preschool in Pārdaugava is a nursery inspired by the Reggio Emilia alternative educational conception, which was conceived in Italy in the second half of the 20th century and is now widely known all over the world. We have adopted the best ideas from the Reggio Emilia global experience and adapted them to the situation in Latvia.
Since times immemorial, birds have been a symbol of freedom. We wish our children to grow up as free, creative and intelligent people. Freedom in our view, however, does not mean that everything is permitted. There are rules that should clearly be followed, but they must be easy to grasp and comply with and adequate to the age group characteristics of the small learner. Children require secure support and boundaries.
Teachers at the Putnu dārzs believe that every child from birth has an enormous potential for development and treat him/her as an equal member of the community. The staff take into account each child’s unique personality, perception and learning pace in daily life.
Loris Malaguzzi (1920–1994), the founder of the Reggio Emilia school, held that children should arrive at knowledge by themselves, through their own doings, as this is a more effective way to develop skills and acquire comprehensive knowledge. Words teach, and examples attract. Intellectual growth takes place on the move, gaining experience in practical tasks. Games and practical activities are part of the daily life at Putnu dārzs. One of the keynotes of the Reggio Emilia approach is learning to express emotions through movement.
Communication with children and parents at Putnu dārzs takes place in Latvian, Russian and English, because we care about the well-being of those who have Latvian as their native language and those coming from different ethnic backgrounds alike.
We cooperate with the Terake nursery in Tartu, Estonia, which has been successfully practicing the Reggio Emilia approach for six years (see http://www.terake.tartu.ee).
At Putnu dārzs, we wish that both children and adults hold on to the feeling of flying, and we provide a favourable environment for everyone to express themselves – for ‘flying’.
Our motto: The mind needs wings!
Our values: environment, development of personality, eagerness to acquire knowledge.