The influences of the highly regarded Reggio Emilia schools of Italy are at the core of Sprouting Minds Preschool teaching philosophy. The Reggio approach means, simply, allowing children to guide their teachers in choosing the classroom environment that will challenge and maximize their curiosity.
What Intrigues your child? Is it painting dinosaurs? Building castles? Traveling to distant lands by reading books? Dressing up?
As teachers following the Reggio approach, we constantly listen to and observe children in the classroom to discover what interests them. We use this knowledge to plan the curriculum and prepare the teaching tools and environment, while at the same time, pursuing developmental improvement. That said, while it is the children’s own interests that
influence their day, teachers consistently prepare an age-appropriate daily schedule that ensures the structure from which each child in the classroom benefits.
Learning is a Collaborative Art
The Reggio-Emilia approach to early childhood education emphasizes the playful, creative nature of children – not just as an inherent quality, but as a key tool for learning. By embracing children as active participants in their own education, we create an environment that encourages cooperation, problem solving and creativity – skills that are becoming increasingly sought after in the modern world.
Teachers as Co-Learners
At Our Center, teachers are partners in the learning process, using tools of listening, observing, and flexibility to create the learning space. When the teachers observe interests within the classroom, they offer provocations, guidance and insights to extend topics of investigation and encourage problem solving skills.
Emergent Project Based Learning
Our curriculum emerges from the interests of the children. If an interesting grasshopper is found on the playground, we might begin a project on insects- researching their habitats, diet, or defining characteristics. Across all classrooms and projects, literacy, mathematics, and science are naturally interwoven as the curriculum unfolds, rather than boxed off into artificially compartmentalized disciplines.
Projects may last a few weeks or can continue throughout the school year. The overall curriculum is presented through the development of projects in which each child has the opportunity to explore concepts and ideas in depth. The positive and respectful outlook influences all aspects of our program from the way the curriculum is crafted to the use of documentation in the classroom to the set-up of materials in the environment.
Environment as our “third teacher”
We view our environment as the “third teacher,” offering open-ended materials for children to explore, play, and learn freely. An environment that helps children feel safe and supported creates opportunities for emotional, social, and physical growth.
To highlight the learning process and ongoing project work, our educators utilize multiple forms of documentation, including photographs, dictations, and artwork. Samples of each child’s interests and developmental milestones are recorded in an individual portfolio, and shared with families on a regular basis. Communication through a school newsletter, also ensures that families feel included in the activities and interests we see emerging in our playground and classroom.
The Reggio approach values relationships as important places of learning and growth. At our center, children are encouraged to be active members of the classroom, use proactive language, and develop positive peer relationships – including a strong emphasis on our Kindness Principles. This sense of community extends beyond the classroom as we encourage families, local businesses and community groups to stay connected with us and become an active part of our learning family.