The Sylvan Trails School
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Reggio Emilia Teaching

The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment and nature at the center. The foundation of the Reggio Emilia approach lies in its unique view of the child. In this approach, there is a belief that children should be given opportunities to develop their potential. “Influenced by this belief, the child is beheld as beautiful, powerful, competent, creative, curious, and full of potential and ambitious desires.” The child is also viewed as being an active constructor of knowledge. Much of the instruction at Reggio Emilia schools takes place in the form of projects where they have opportunities to explore, observe, hypothesize, question, and discuss to clarify their understanding. Children are viewed as social beings and a focus is made on the child in relation to other children, the family, the teachers, and the community rather than on each child in isolation.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:

• Children must have some control over the direction of their learning
• Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing
• Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that they must be allowed to explore
• Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

The Hundred Languages of Children
What are the hundred languages of Children?
Symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpting, dramatic play, writing, and painting are used to represent children’s thinking processes and theories. As children work through problems and ideas, they are encouraged to depict their understanding using many different representations. As their thinking evolves, they are encouraged to revisit their representation to determine if they are representative of their intent or if they require modification.

The Hundred Languages of Childhood.
The child has
A hundred languages
A hundred hands
A hundred thoughts
A hundred ways of thinking
Of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred
Ways of listening of marveling of loving
A hundred joys
For singing and understanding
A hundred worlds
To discover
A hundred worlds
To invent
A hundred worlds
To dream
The child has
A hundred languages
(and a hundred… hundred… hundred …more..) But they steal ninety-nine.

The school and the culture
Separate the head from the body.
They tell the child;
To think without hands
To do without head
To listen and not to speak
To understand without joy
To love and to marvel
Only at Easter and Christmas
They tell the child:
To discover the world already there
And of the hundred
They steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
That work and play
Reality and fantasy
Science and imagination
Sky and earth
Reason and dream
Are things
That does not belong together
And thus they tell the child
That they hundred is not there.

The child says: NO WAY the hundred is there– -Loris Malaguzzi Founder of the Reggio Approach