Here is a printable version of the Hundred Languages of Children poem from today’s Reggio Monday post. Click the link below to open the file.
Category Archives: Reggio Emilia
This week I thought I would discuss the role of the teacher as related to the Reggio Emilia Philosophy. Within the Reggio Emilia approach, the teacher’s role first and foremost is to be a co-learner and collaborator with the children. Basically, it is the idea that the teachers carefully listen, observe, ask questions, and document children’s work in order to discover what the children’s interests truly are. The teachers are then encouraged, with the help of the children, to plan activities and lessons based on the children’s interests and then actively engage in the activities alongside the child. The teachers can also act as a resource and guide by taking their expertise and provoking open ended questions and thoughts to stimulate thinking on the part of the children. In other words, the teacher is mainly a partner who guides and nurtures the children to become learners, are researchers who observe and ask the open ended questions, are documenters who listen, observe, and portray the children’s work, and are advocates for children by including parents in their children’s learning and being involved in the community.
If you have followed Reggio Emilia Philosophy at all you have undoubtedly heard that the environment acts as the third teacher. But what does that mean? I think this quote I found says it perfectly:
“In order to act as an educator for the child,
the environment has to be flexible: it must
undergo frequent modification by the
children and the teachers in order to remain
up-to-date and responsive to their needs to
be protagonists in constructing their
We know that the classroom should be child friendly. Most classrooms I have walked into have had child sized furniture, low shelving with play materials on it, bright colors and art work plastered on the walls or bulletin boards. There is much more to the third teacher than child furniture and toys. Making the classroom feel like home, make the children feel welcomes and safe; the classroom should reflect the children in it and their personalities and interests.
I agree with having low, open shelves to display materials and having them arranged to section room off into areas of interest. But along with these ideas I always try to bring nature into the class whether it is in center materials or as decorative elements. Someone walking into my classroom would see lots of recycled/reused items as manipulatives or decorations, along with family photos and documentation of our children. Soft elements such as lamps, rugs and pillows make the environment feel home-like.
Bringing authentic materials and supplies into the classroom is a must; the classroom should be somewhat of an “exploratory lab” for the children and they learn to respect the environment they grow up in. Having glass items for the children to use or organize supplies, is not uncommon.
I think it helps when trying to re-create your environment is to look at some ideas in books or online for inspiration; I LOVE Pinterest for this! You can search anything on there or in books too. Once you have a vision, think about how that will work with your current children or get input and ideas from the children themselves. Most of the time our rooms have too much furniture and materials in it, see what you can remove, what do the children not utilize?, or what could be repurposed for another use? Doing the whole room at once may be overwhelming to you; rearrange the furniture or first and then work on one area or center at a time, adding manipulatives and decorative elements. It may take longer, but will be worth the wait when you and the children get to view and explore in an inspiring environment!
“First we shape our buildings. Thereafter they shape our lives.”
“Every person needs a place that is furnished with hope.
I thought for the first entry on seasonal ideas I would just chat a bit rather than give an actual activity with supplies, ideas and standards covered. I tend to do A LOT of seasonal and holiday fun because I LOVE holidays, they are too fun (If that’s even possible to have something be too fun? ;I’m not sure)!
But I like to think that I take a different approach to holiday ideas rather that the same old “cookie cutter” cut and paste holiday craft. Depending on the age of the children I like to see what the holiday means to them and share traditions, thoughts, ideas, some history of the topic and what it means to me. You will be amazed at the answers you will get when you ask a three year old what Valentine’s Day means or what a Leprechaun is and probably get a few laughs in too! I like to let the children explore ideas and materials that are common to the season or holiday and incorporate standards of learning along the way.
Every Monday is now officially Reggio Monday! We will share a number of ways to incorporate the Reggio Emilia Philosophy into your daily life and your classroom environment. First and foremost we want to share the basics.
The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education is named after the town of Reggio Emilia located in northern Italy. In Reggio Emilia, publicly funded schools provide education for children from birth to six years. These schools have been described as among the best in the world. These schools located in Reggio Emilia began with parents, parents wanting to make a change. After World War Two, parents in Reggio Emilia Italy worked together and founded the town’s first pre-schools. These parents had and wanted a new kind of school where their children would be treated with respect and creators of their own learning as well as where they as parents could be active participants in their children’s education. These parents looked to educator Loris Malaguzzi to create these schools that worked with their true mission. These schools created a framework for the Reggio Emilia philosophy.
The Reggio Emilia approach offers a way for teachers to incorporate children’s natural curiosity by encouraging them to work on projects that interest them. This approach also encourages children to communicate their knowledge and understanding in a variety of media. Parents are also encouraged to be actively involved in all aspects of the school and their child’s learning. The most important part of this philosophy is the child. In this philosophy, teachers treat children as competent and capable of creating their own learning. The main principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy include:
- Children are strong, interested, capable and curious.
- Children learn best working with others
- Children learn through “the hundred languages”
- Children learn best in a space where everything has a purpose.
- Children can stay focused on a topic of interest for long-term
- Teachers listen to and observe the children closely, ask questions, and explore the children’s ideas
- Teachers provide experiences that expand on children’s thinking and learning
- Teachers document the children’s work
- Parents provide ideas and skills, which make them active partners in the children’s learning