What Does Our Reggio Emilia Inspired Program Look Like?
Each child is a unique and important member of our community who comes to school with an abundance of experiences. Preschoolers form relationships, make connections, and seek new experiences to understand their world and their role in the community. Inspired by their own interest to learn and play, children construct knowledge alongside their teachers and classmates as they explore and discover together.
Parents, caregivers and families are an integral part of the preschool experience. We view parents as their child’s first and primary teacher. Relationships are built with families through the emphasis on the home and school connection, helping children feel a sense of safety and security at school. Families are encouraged to participate through a variety of opportunities in the classroom and school community. Frequent communication between the “school family” and “home family” ensures a strong partnership to support each child.
Depending on the child, the group, the lesson, or the opportunity for a “teachable moment,” the teachers support the students as curators, guides, resource facilitators, researchers and explorers. The teachers partner with the children to build a caring, supportive community, where each individual is treated with respect and valued as an important contributor to the group.
A critical component of the Reggio Approach is communication through documentation. Teachers document the many ways children communicate their thoughts and ideas through the use of photos, videos, dictation and the display of children’s artwork and creations. This visual record allows children to reflect upon their thinking and build upon past ideas. Our visual documentation displays inspire conversation and connection building amongst the parents, visitors and the preschool creators.
The Environment as the Third Teacher
In the Reggio Approach, the environment is referred to as the third teacher, after the parent and classroom teacher. Our classrooms are thoughtfully and intentionally designed to spark interest and engagement. In these warm and welcoming spaces, natural elements and light are used to create dynamic environments with the flexibility to respond to the needs and interests of the children.
The Hundred Languages of Children
In preschool, children are developing their ability to express themselves using a variety of symbolic languages— art, movement, drawing, painting, music, sculpture, science, nature, dramatic play, yoga, dance, math, building, and writing. As they communicate through these “hundred languages,” children are invited to collaborate, ask questions, explore emotions and examine their own thinking. Our dedicated preschool Atelierista, or art teacher, supports the preschoolers with multiple opportunities to explore materials and techniques on a daily basis.
For preschoolers, a sense of community begins at home with their families. They then build relationships with their peers and teachers. As they become more confident, they are ready to broaden their connections to involve other people in the school community, including their older buddies and adults throughout the building. Through these trusting relationships, children learn to understand the broader community.