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fieldwork :: Reggio

fieldwork :: Reggio

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Published by :: fieldwork ::
fieldwork
summer 2009
Last winter as my belly grew a baby, I began studying the schools of Reggio Emilia, a region in Italy that has created unique learning centers. Although the methods are practiced in traditional school settings, there is much that can be translated to our relationships with children outside of school. Reggio is centered on the belief that children are protagonists in their own stories, people who are ready to learn and explore. Children are free to investigate anything that
fieldwork
summer 2009
Last winter as my belly grew a baby, I began studying the schools of Reggio Emilia, a region in Italy that has created unique learning centers. Although the methods are practiced in traditional school settings, there is much that can be translated to our relationships with children outside of school. Reggio is centered on the belief that children are protagonists in their own stories, people who are ready to learn and explore. Children are free to investigate anything that

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Published by: :: fieldwork :: on Nov 29, 2010
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fieldwork
summer 2009
Last winter as my belly grew ababy, I began studying the schoolsof Reggio Emilia, a region in Italythat has created unique learningcenters. Although the methods arepracticed in traditional schoolsettings, there is much that can betranslated to our relationshipswith children outside of school.Reggio is centered on the beliefthat children are protagonists intheir own stories, people who areready to learn and explore.Children are free to investigateanything that interests them. Whilewe commonly think ofart as a means ofexpression, in Reggioschools it is also amode of inquiry, a wayof discovering
what’s
true in this world.Each school has studiospace and quality artmaterials are alwaysavailable. Classroomsare beautiful placesfull of natural light,cozy nooks for reading,and access to the outdoors.Adults pay close, quiet attentionand document what they see. Thisfor me is the most exciting pieceof Reggio education
 —
the teacher asresearcher. Documentation rescuesrecord keeping and transforms itinto a creative act all its own.As children work on their projects,the teacher thinks hard about howto move the project forward, how toformulate questions and providedirection when needed. Thisdocumentation becomes a visualjournal of a sort--full of listsand photographs and stories andquestions. A wonderful example can
be found on Lori Pickert’s website.
When a child gets off track, theproject journal can be a way ofreturn.Teachers becomepartners in the
child’s process of
discovery. Whilechildren are curiousand capable, adultscan offer useful toolsand share of their ownexperience. The roleof the teacher is notbased on power, but onrespect andunderstanding. In aword, love. There isan implicit faith that an
adult’s
need for expression, creativity,and thoughtful work can be met evenas a
child’s nee
ds are met.And
isn’t that
the balance that
we’re all
looking for?
 
Page 2 fieldwork
A Way to Begin
 
--from an interview with Loris Malaguzzi in
The Hundred Languages of Children
We know it is essential to focus on children and be child-centered, but we donot feel that is enough. We also consider the teachers and families to becentral to the education of children. All three are at the center of ourinterest. (64)Our goal embodies ways of getting along together, of intensifyingrelationships, of assuring attention, and of activating participation andresearch. (65)What children learn does not follow as an automatic result from what is
taught. Rather it is due to the children’s own doing
, as a consequence oftheir activities and our resources. (67)
Once children are helped to perceive themselves as authors andinventors, once they are helped to discover the pleasure of inquiry,their motivation and interest will explode. (67)
The way we get along with children influences whatmotivates them and what they learn. (68)Creativity becomes more visible when adults try to bemore attentive to the cognitive processes of childrenthan to the results they achieve. (77)The wider the range of possibilities we offerchildren, the more intense will be their motivationsand the richer their experiences. (79)One has to respect the full, slow, extravagant,
lucid, and ever changing emergence of children’s capacities. (80)
 Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning. Observe carefully whatthe children are doing, and then if you have understood well, perhapsteaching will be different from before. (82)To learn and relearn together with the children is our line of work. (86)
Further Investigations
 
The Hundred Languages of Children: the Reggio Emilia Approach
— 
Advanced Reflections
edited by Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini, and George Forman
 
 
Authentic Childhood: Experiencing Reggio Emilia in the Classroom
bySusan Fraser and Carol Gestwicki
 
 
Lori Pickert writes about children and learning athttp://www.whiteoakschool.com
 

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