Hundreds of languages…

Here are the fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia Approach.  You’ll see these in action in the preschool and throughout Mustard Seed.

The child as protagonist

Children are rich, strong, and capable. All children have preparedness, potential, curiosity, and interest in constructing their learning.  They can negotiate everything their environment brings to them. Children, teachers, and parents are considered the three central protagonists in the educational process.

The child as collaborator

Education occurs in relationship with other children, family,  teachers, and community.   That is why we emphasize group work. This practice is based on the social constructivist model that supports the idea that we form ourselves through our interaction with peers, adults, things in the world, and symbols

The child as communicator

Children require 100s of languages with which to explore and convey learning.  Languages like words. Movement. Drawing. Painting. Building. Sculpture. Shadow play. Collage. Dramatic play. Music.  We give students access to materials and the knowledge of how to use them. We want them to discover, wonder, question, feel, and imagine.

The environment as third teacher

The design and use of space matters.  Well designed space encourages encounters, communication, and relationships. Every corner of every space has an identity and purpose. It is valued and cared for by children and adults.

The teacher AS a partner, nurturer, and guide

Teachers facilitate children’s exploration of themes, and work on short-term and long-term projects. They guide experiences of collaborative, open-ended discovery and problem solving. They listen and observe children closely. Ask questions.  Discover children’s ideas, hypotheses, and theories.

The teacher As a researcher

Teachers work in pairs and maintain strong, collegial relationships.  They engage in continuous discussion and interpretation of their work and the work of the children. These exchanges provide ongoing training and theoretical enrichment. Teachers see themselves as researchers who document their work with children, whom they also consider researchers.

The documentation as communication

Documentation serves many purposes. It makes parents aware of their children’s experience. It allows teachers to better understand children, to evaluate their own work, and to exchange ideas with other educators. Documentation also shows the children that their work is valued. Finally, it creates an archive that traces the history of the school and the pleasure in the process of learning by many children and their teachers.

The parent as partner

Parent participation is considered essential. Parents play an active part in their children’s learning experiences and help ensure the welfare of all the children in the school. The ideas and skills that families bring to the school and, even more important, the exchange of ideas between parents and teachers, favor the development of a new way of educating.