In a Reggio Emilia inspired school, children’s interests are at large and in-charge! The purpose of a Reggio Emilia education is to engage each child’s personal learning potential – in terms of both development and relationship building. In order to unlock this potential, children are offered daily opportunities in school to exercise their “hundred languages” of learning. Teachers present children with various hands-on, mentally-stimulating, skill-building materials and activities, allowing each child to direct their own path of learning through expression and creativity.
1. Visual Invitations and Inquisitive Provocations
In a Reggio inspired classroom, teachers set up inviting spaces for children to enter and explore materials. This can be especially important for visual learners. For example, an arts & craft workspace should always be neat and stocked with all the necessary materials for children to exercise their skills.
Reggio Emilia teachers will typically provide authentic art materials such as watercolors, clay, chalk, and charcoal for children to experiment with in the classroom. They also offer all kinds of art instruments or vehicles for pigment including brushes, cotton balls, sponges, q-tips, sticks, and pinecones. Other textural materials will also be accessible, such as pieces of fabric or ribbon, pom-poms, foam shapes, and more.
Remember, in this educational technique, we’re engaging all of children’s varied languages, allowing them to shape projects through their individual interests by giving them agency and options. Whether students are exploring color and texture through print-making or kneading clay with their hands, they are using their powers of inquiry to learn about their world with art.
2. Dramatic Play
Developing communication skills with peers at the preschool and elementary school level is very important. As children experiment with their hundred languages, they are also flexing their relationship-building muscles, and laying the foundations for future friendships and collaboration. Dramatic play helps children develop confidence, exercise imagination, and have fun with one another!
3. Inspired by Nature
The role of the environment is very important in a Reggio inspired classrooms and is exhibited in many different Reggio Emilia activities— both inside and outside the classroom, children are encouraged to learn about the great outdoors! In the classroom, your child might encounter rocks, soil, leaves, sticks, feathers, maybe even a bird’s nest. Outdoors, children can observe these materials in action: leaves changing or falling, snow sparkling and crunching, grass poking up through damp ground, birds building nests and raising babies. Watching the activities of the natural world will spark all kinds of curious questions in children, leading to the learning and appreciation of life and its cycles. Experiencing nature is a great way for children to engage all of their senses.