When young parents are looking for their child’s first learning experience, there is a lot to consider. It isn’t just a question of finding a safe place to leave your child while you are at work, indeed, the first few years of a child’s life are known as the formative years, and for a very good reason, as this is the time when habits, beliefs and values are formed.
The Reggio Emilia Approach
Reggio Emilia is actually a city in northern Italy, where, just after the end of WWII, a kindergarten teacher and a group of parents devised a system of early learning that gives young learners the essential skills for self-learning, plus it instils the right values. The Reggio Emilia approach to early learning is used globally and is recognised by education experts and pedagogists as being of a very high calibre, with learning content that is designed around the children’s interests. There is a kindergarten in Bangkok that firmly believes in the Reggio Emilia approach, and they have established a fantastic reputation for delivery an exciting and dynamic curriculum that is centred around nature.
The Core Concepts of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Learning
The Reggio Emilia approach follows specific guidelines, which are as follows:
- The children must have some control over their learning, which means the curriculum is designed around their interests.
- The children learn through experiences such as listening, movement, touching, verbal communication and various forms of art.
- The children have relationships with their peers, teachers and objects around them and should be encouraged to explore these vital relationships.
- The children must have the opportunity to express themselves in any way they feel comfortable. Expression can come in the form of speaking, art, movement and many other activities.
Parental & Community Involvement
This is a critical component to the Reggio Emilia approach and all parents are encouraged to become involved in every aspect of the children’s activities. Some parents, for example, would be encouraged to prepare a small presentation to the kids to explain their profession, while the school would regularly hold workshops for the parents, to better acquaint them with the core learning principles. It is important that parents do understand (and support) this system of learning, as they can reinforce learning at home. The community would also play a role in the early learning program, which might take the form of field trips, where the children can learn first-hand about various community institutions and activities.
Natural Learning Environment
The learning environment is another critical element of the Reggio Emilia approach, and the children would be surrounded by their own work, which would be posted on classroom walls, and soft pastel colours would be evident throughout. Learning resources would be made from natural materials whenever possible, while great care is taken when designing the layout of the classrooms and outdoor learning areas. Indeed, outdoor learning about nature plays a big role in the program.
If you would like your child to develop a lifelong love of learning, you couldn’t choose a better early learning program than one that focuses on the Reggio Emilia approach.