Introduction/ of children, of parents, of adults,

Introduction/ historyThe Reggio Emilia approach was founded by Loris Malaguzzi. This approach points out the philosophy of early childhood education that originated in Reggio Emilia, a small city in northern Italy, subsequently of the destruction of World War II in 1945. This is a distinctive approach of education that sets about with a definite image of children, of parents, of adults, of education, of life and has guiding principles. The Reggio Emilia approach is lead by the children’s own curiosity, secure to the world around them, and the principle that children are capable to grow, expand and develop their own potential. Reggio Emilia, is a town still trying to prosper today, more than fifty years since the first gestures of reconstructing and progress that were made. In 1945, shortly after World War II, in Reggio Emilia at that time parents who were busy working were looking for alternatives to different kind of child cares for their children. They wanted one that would nurture and encourage critical thinking and partnership skills. That’s when Loris Malaguzzi joined in and in 1963 Reggio Emilia and opened the first municipal preschool. As claimed by Dr. Carol Brunson Day, the first school was paid for by selling a tank, nine horses, and two military trucks and was built by stone, sand and timber gathered by the villagers. This preschool was the initial out of a number of preschools and infant-toddler centers that were paid for by the town. Also, those centers cease by serving around half of the young children in the city in the end of 1970’s. (Weebly, 2017) Major TheoreticalThe Reggio Emilia approach was influenced by many theories. The first practices of the Reggio Emilia schools were massively influenced by Jean Piaget’s constructivist theory. This theory relates especially to the education aspect and how the environment is the third teacher. This theory recommends that the child builds up his or her own interpretation of reality from his or her own particular  experiences or interactions with the environment and the world around them. “The establishment of cognitive development occurs not solely by way of a copy of the external world, nor by a set of structures performed within the individual, but by continuous interaction between the external world and the individual (Piaget, 1976)” (Kari Slipp, 2017). For that reason, as educators part of our role is to set up a nice and welcoming environment filled with good materials and instructions that is best suitable for the age group developmentally. Then the child will begin to analyze an object or idea. Soon after, by either assimilating and trying to relate and make connections between the new information they learned into existing schema or mentally accommodating the new experience by constructing a new schema.  The Reggio Emilia approach from Vygotsky’s perspective, is focused on sociocultural theory that contributed to the determinant to Reggio Emilia. One of the concepts of his theory is the zone of proximal development it refers to the variation between a learner’s ability to carry through a task independently without adults help or a more knowledgeable person. This is a huge and essential role of an educator in the Reggio Emilia school. The zone of proximal development is “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Kari Slipp, 2017). When children are in the zone of proximal development it’s very important to scaffold them by giving them the support and the tools they need in order to learn and complete the task effectively. When scaffolding children it’s important to make sure that the task is not too difficult to avoid the children getting frustrated and quickly giving up nor it is too easy to the extent that the children will do it in a few seconds or minutes very easily without learning any new skills or information. It’s important that the task is in between just right for them where it still provides just enough challenge in order for the child to learn something new, Eventually, the scaffolding will be removed and once the child masters the skill or the task independently, it’s important to upgrade and make the task just a little more challenging for the child to keep learning new skills and knowledge. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory shows that knowledge expands by trying to make meaning and connections by continually interacting with other people and the world. This theory shows how children and educators work together in order to help children gain new knowledge and in the development. This theory does not only focus on the importance of adult and peers and how they have an influence on learning but also the culture beliefs and traditions  play a big role on how children think, view instructions and learn. Dewey’s focuses on the education aspect he believed that children that the curriculum should be based on the children’s interest and that they learn best through hands on and play based activities. These educational methods are indeed used in the Reggio Emilia Program. Dewey also believe that the learning experiences should be purposeful and that the children should be really engaged in the activities ahead of their knowledge intake in order to get a better idea of their own theoretical understanding.  His theory also gave great importance on social and the community just like Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. Which means that children learn by interacting and being social with others. He also believed that the environment should be aesthetic which is applied in the Reggio Emilia theory since they view the environment as the third teacher. (Slipp, 2017) Environment The Reggio Emilia approach to learning repeatedly states the idea of three educators in the educational setting: the child, the teacher, and the environment. They believe that the environment plays such a big role that impacts the children’s learning. For that reason, it is very important for the environment to be aesthetically pleasing so that it would inspire the children to play and explore. The environment should be infused with natural light, order and beauty. It’s best if there is open spaces that are clutter free. The materials around the children’s should encourage them to develop deeper thinking. The spaces in the room should stimulate collaboration, exploration and communication. The space honors children as skillful, talented and accomplished by supplying them with real, good and reliable of quality materials and tools. Play is driven by the children’s fascination, curiosity, and the world and the atmosphere around them.  “Influenced by this belief, the child is beheld as beautiful, powerful, competent, creative, curious, and full of potential and ambitious desires.” Hewitt, Valerie (2001) For that reason, the materials in the environment have to be age appropriate and are based on the children’s interest and natural curiosity. Therefore, add more meaning and learning experiences to the children and making play more meaningful. By doing this. the children are given the right set of circumstances to create their own play and exploration which will help teach them to become more independent and think creatively.  

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