The Reggio Emilia Approach originated in the town (and surrounding areas) of Reggio Emilia in Italy out of a movement towards progressive and cooperative early childhood education. Since its development at the end of World War II in the 1940's, this inspiring and innovative educational approach to early childhood learning has been used worldwide. Loris Malaguzzi, is broadly recognised as the 'father' of the approach and widely documented and promulgated the philosophy as an alternative to the more traditional, rote learning styles of early learning.
It is unique to Reggio Emilia and is not a method. There are no international training colleges to train to be a Reggio Emilia teacher. Outside of the region of Reggio Emilia, all schools and preschools are Reggio Emilia inspired (much like how champagne can only be called Sparkling Wine outside of the region of Champagne in France). At Treasured Tots Early Education we apply an adaptation of the approach specific to the needs of our community...this is important as no two Reggio Emilia inspired communities will look the same as the needs and interests of the children, their families and our educators, will always be different.
We consider parents and families to be a vital component to the Reggio Emilia philosophy and, therefore, part of our community. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. Educators respect parents as each child's first teacher and involve parents in the development of the curriculum as much as possible.
We encourage our parents and families to volunteer and participate in our Centre programs as this can allow for this educational philosophy to continue when the child leaves the classroom (ie we can then better collaborate about the home expectations and needs and those that are supported and encouraged here at Treasured Tots Early Education). We want to know our families better, their traditions, their routines, their talents, their expectations and we want you to know us too! We understand that not all parents and families can participate as actively as they might like to, so we have developed mechanisms to allow our parents to participate in the planning and evaluation process. We do this via various mechanisms including:
- Face to face conversations regarding your child and his/her needs and current levels of participation. This should occur every day your child attends and can occur more formally with previous arrangement (we can set up one on one meetings if needed/requested).
- Our parents are asked on a regular basis to provide feedback regarding our policies. We have a yearly policy review cycle and each month several policies are considered.
- We invite speakers to address our families on current issues and trends relating to child rearing/parenting (eg nutrition, understanding children's behaviour)
- When there are major changes that are industry related, we will go above and beyond to ensure that our families are aware of these changes, their (potential) impact on our Centre and how they can provide input to adopting these changes to best meet our learning community needs.
How The Reggio Emilia Approach Sees Children
The Reggio Emilia approach views children as being worthy of being listened to and feels that adults can actually learn from children as well as the other way around. Here at Treasured Tots Early Education, educators are encouraged to allow the children to guide their own curriculum based on their own interests and curiosities. The classroom environment is also geared to accommodate the needs of the children. Children are encouraged to develop their own curiosities and potential in order to understand the world around them and how they fit within this.
It is understood that children express themselves in numerous ways. Loris Malaguzzi wrote a famous poem (see below) that speaks to the difference between the Reggio Emilia approach and the more mainstream approach to early learning – and declaring that children will battle to have their voices heard! Here at Treasured Tots Early Education we value the voice of the child.