Principles of the Reggio Emilia approach

  1. The child’s worldview. The child’s personality and understanding of oneself and the world is created by interaction with the environment. Therefore, children themselves can provide direction for the learning process. Children both ask questions and find answers through numerous forms of non-verbal communication (in such activities as performance, painting and drawing, plastering, dancing, music, construction and crafts).
  2. Projects and the teacher’s role. The Reggio Emilia approach uses the project method. Projects are created based on the child’s current interests and questions rather than planned in advance. In the games and group work under individual projects, the opinion of each participant is equally important. The teacher is an attentive companion, who listens and pays attention to what the child is saying, follows his/her interests and provides whatever is necessary for helping the child achieve his/her goals.
  3. Environment is the third teacher. Filled with natural light and organised using natural materials, the environment is changed along with the child’s growth. Every item or substance is used to encourage the child to explore it in depth. The ‘language’ of the environment is a play with sounds, rhythms and light. Natural materials, tools and household items are placed in the environment, so that the child feels that he/she is trusted and relied upon. Both adults and children create the environment and take care of it.
  4. Community and participation of parents in school life. Exploration of the world takes place by correlating the experiences, concepts and phenomena. The Reggio Emilia approach envisages an active and responsible involvement of parents in school life, as this gives the child support, making him/her feel safe, while the parents can use the opportunity to transfer their best knowledge to the children. The presence of parents in the nursery helps the child to continue the learning activities at home, promotes cooperation between teachers and parents, and makes the relationship between the child and the parents closer.
  5. Documentation. The Reggio Emilia approach gives great importance to a thorough documentation of the child’s thoughts, ideas and actions in the form of notes, visual images, their interpretations, etc., thereby recording the child’s cognitive and learning processes. Documentation is simultaneously both an insight and retrospect into the school life for the child, teachers, parents and others.
  6. Teachers as learners. Teachers, in turn, can and should learn from children, and they do this every time they welcome a newcomer. The Reggio Emilia approach is based on the conviction that teachers should constantly improve themselves, in cooperation not only with children but also with adepts in other areas (musicians, researchers, actors, artists, scientists, etc.).
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