When it comes to early learning education, there are a few approaches towards learning that centres can take. Treasured Tots takes the Reggio Emilia Approach to early education which is based on the “image of a child with strong potentialities for development, and a subject with rights, who learns through the hundred languages belonging to all human beings, and grows in relations with others.”
The Reggio Emilia Approach is used in early learning centres across the world, and essentially is designed to help children develop their potential to learn from everything that surrounds them.
So how does this approach to learning help children?
How Does the Reggio Emilia Approach Work?
There are three important concepts to the Reggio Emilia philosophy:
- Respect for the child
- Emphasis on building relationships
- The power of the learning environment
The Reggio Emilia Approach allows children to express themselves in a variety of ways that helps them develop their personality. Activities such as painting, drawing and drama are languages that children use to communicate with each other and the community around them, and these activities then allow children to engage in meaningful learning activities. One of the main aims of this approach is to instil a love of learning, and to prepare the child to transition into primary school.
Why the Reggio Emilia Approach Works for Children
Often, we see early learning approaches that throw children in without being tailored to their interests and development level, which in turn creates children who are disinterested and reluctant to learn. There are three ways the Reggio Emilia Approach works, and why it is great for children, particularly younger children.
1. A unique learning journey
This approach follows each child along their specific learning journey; it is flexible and centred around the child, immersing them in learning new skills and concepts while continuing the idea that learning is fun. As a result, children want to learn more and are more often open to learning new skills.
2. Encourages strong social and interpersonal skills
We know that strong relationships and building networks is important to children whether between themselves, their educators or the community in general. This approach encourages children to practise empathy and positive social skills allowing them to have a greater understanding of their relationships with those around them.
3. Self-discovery through the environment
Different learning environments can develop different skills amongst children, particularly outdoor and natural environments. You can tell a Reggio Emilia environment through the use of vibrant colours, as well as sensory learning activities and outdoor learning. This approach is welcoming to parents and children alike.
Characteristics of a Reggio Emilia Focussed Centre
We mentioned the environment earlier as being one of the reasons this approach is great for children, but there are two other main characteristics that ensure this approach fits the needs of a variety of children.
Firstly, is the curriculum. Under some learning approaches there is a structured curriculum in place that offers little flexibility to work with the interests of the child. The Reggio Emilia approach however is flexible, and interest based allowing children to move through their development and education based on their own experiences, interests and observations. Essentially, children are empowered to take pride in their education and develop a passion to continue learning.
In primary and secondary education, teachers provide resources for each child based on their interests however in early education this leans more towards having various activities set up throughout the room and allowing children to free play in the area that most holds their interest.
Diversity is another major characteristic of this approach, and it encourages diversity in the children attending as well as the educators and support staff. Having diversity throughout the centre or school is beneficial for children, teaching them respect, acceptance and collaborating with other children, whatever their background.
The Reggio Emilia Approach works for most children within an early learning setting as children are natural explorers and have a natural curiosity towards how things work, grow and fit together. If you’d like to find out more about how we implement this approach at Treasured Tots, we welcome you to make an appointment with one of our centres in Mandurah, Fremantle or Bibra Lakes.