At the heart of the Reggio
philosophy is the belief that children are strong, competent and born ready to
learn. The fundamental principles of the Reggio Emilia approach include:
The Child as an Active Participant
The Reggio Emilia approach sees a child as a competent protagonist. Children are naturally curious, they are searching for meaning as they make connections from what they know and have experienced to the new and yet unexplored. Recognizing and following the children's interests allows classroom learning to become intrinsic. For example, when a preschool class showed interest in a particular tree at Loose Park the teachers took them to the tree throughout the school year. While visiting the tree, the children observed firsthand how it changed from summer, to fall, to winter, to spring. In the classroom and at the park, the children were given many opportunities to question and search for answers about the tree. The investigation included experiences which reinforced math skills, problem-solving and emergency literacy - all in relationship to their hands-on investigation of the tree.
The Teacher, Parent and Child as Collaborators
The Reggio Emilia approach views parent participation as essential for building the safe and secure school community necessary for children's active learning.
Teachers As Researchers
The teacher's role within the Reggio
Emilia approach is complex. Working as co-teachers, the role of the teacher is
first and foremost to be that of a learner alongside the children. The teacher
is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she/he lends expertise to
children (Edwards, 1993). Within such a teacher-researcher role, educators
carefully listen, observe and document children's work and the growth of
community in their classroom. Teachers are to provoke, co-construct, and
stimulate thinking and children's collaboration with peers. Teachers are
committed to reflection about their own teaching and learning.
Teacher role is to:
- Co-explore the learning experiences with the children;
- Provoke ideas, problem solving and conflict resolution;
- Take cues from the children and provide opportunities for further explorations;
- Organize the classroom and materials to be aesthetically pleasing;
- Facilitate children’s thoughtful decisions ;
- Document children's progress: photographs, videos, displays and portfolios;
- Support children in discovering the connections in learning and experiences;
- Scaffold children in expressing their knowledge through representational work;
- Form a community among other teachers and parents;
- Have a dialogue about the projects with parents and other teachers; and
- Foster the connection between home, school and community.
Howard Gardner's notion of schooling for multiple intelligences, the Reggio
Emilia approach utilizes the integration of the graphic arts as tools for
cognitive, linguistic and social development. Presentation of concepts and
hypotheses in multiple forms of representation -- print, art, construction,
drama, music, puppetry and shadow play -- are viewed as essential to children's
understanding of experience.
Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and
necessary to advance cognitive development. Children are encouraged to
dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize and problem solve through
group work. Within the Reggio Emilia approach, multiple perspectives promote
both a sense of group membership and the uniqueness of self.
Documentation of children's work is viewed as an important tool in
understanding children’s learning and their process of learning. Teachers use a
variety of media, including photographs, daily journals, videos and displays
to make the children’s learning visible to the families. Our goal is give an
authentic picture of each child’s development: socially/emotionally,
cognitively and physically.
We are a family centered program based on Loris Malaguzzi's vision of an
"education for children based on relationships." This vision focuses
on each child in relation to others and seeks to activate and support
children's reciprocal relationships with other children, family, teachers,
society and the environment. We promote an interactive community of inquiry
between children, teachers, parents, and school community.
We believe open communication is essential element in successful
communities. Families are kept informed with a Daily Journal, conferences, a
digital portfolio, and a detailed assessment of their child’s development and
Encouraging high levels of family participation is another aspect of our
daily lives at Pembroke Hill early childhood school. Families take part and provide input
into the classroom activities through:
- Guest reading;
- Sharing a skill or hobby;
- Serving as a room parent;
- Assisting with a party;
- Chaperoning a field trip;
- Participating in a family meeting to plan a project;
- Open house forums;
- Informational meetings; and
The Reggio Emilia philosophy stresses that education is based on
relationships. Research has established that 95 percent of the brain develops
in the first five years of life, and
children develop best in communities where they feel safe, happy and secure.
At Pembroke Hill we believe children and parents have the right to continuity
If your child is enrolled in our early years program, he/she will move up to
preschool with the entire class to a new teacher and classroom. Preschool teachers
“loop” with their students. This means that children in preschool will stay
together, in the same classroom, with the same teacher, for both preschool and prekindergarten.
We believe that the relationships children and families develop through
“looping” creates the optimal atmosphere for learning.