The above quote was taken from a Reggio Pre-school and it was indeed a very warm welcome to Reggio today in more ways than one. Reggio Emilia is know to locals as ‘the city of people’ and today we started to get a sense of the strong community that is behind the world famous approach. What an inspiration to be amongst 400 practitioners and educators from over 40 countries, sitting together in the International Centre Loris Malaguzzi Auditorium. Loris Malaguzzi for those unfamiliar, was a 25 year old teacher with an idea that still inspires today, the founder of the Reggio Emila approach to learning.
The entrance to the International Centre Loris Malaguzzi
There was so much to take in today but I shall try to give you a flavour of some of the things that were discussed:-
Schools are known referred to as ‘Building sites’ (no, not the temporary home while the classrooms are being built) a place upon which to build knowledge, explore, take risks and make mistakes.
The child is not seen as a weak subject nor a school as a home, the child is part of planning and preparing for the days activities and a school is seen as the environment for the child to be astonished, to wonder and experience the unexpected.
The approach is developed through collaborations with many different people and resources. One of my favourites was the Ateliers, or what we may refer to as Artists, this includes all areas of learning, the cooks for example are the ateliers of taste and flavour.
It is a journey that started 50 years ago but they still experience the daily problems that we all experience, however, they have the shared attitude, never to give up!
Sadly, we were unable to take photographs inside the International Centre nor will we be able to take photos in the Pre-Schools. Perhaps one day you may be able to visit them yourself but in the meantime I hope this at least gives some food for thought, ideas to try and a gentle push in the direction of the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.