Welcome to Our Curriculum and Philosophy
Reggio Emilia Inspired Philosophy
At Garden House Nursery Schools we follow the Reggio Emilia philosophy to children’s’ learning and education. This approach is embedded within our framework and allows us to address the children’s needs in more specific ways.
The Reggio Emilia Philosophy is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education, which values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. The Philosophy rides on the coattails of the innate curiosity of children and aims to assist them with understanding their world and who they are in it. This compliments alongside the Early Years Foundation stage, and more specifically, the characteristics of effective learning.
Started by parents in Reggio Emilia, Italy after World War II, the parents believed that a new better approach to teaching their children was required. The program they developed emphasised respect, responsibility and community involvement. Children are allowed to explore and discover in a supportive and rich environment, where the curriculum is created around the children’s interests.
So, what exactly is the Reggio Emilia philosophy? To help improve your understanding of this philosophy, here is a quick introduction.
First, It is important to realise that the Reggio Emilia philosophy is simply that – a philosophy. Education centres that are guided by it are not ‘Reggio Emilia accredited’ as there is no formal process for this. The philosophy simply guides the decisions of teachers and parents in how they approach education. To understand it better, it’s important to know the three core principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy: the child, the environment, and the teacher/parent.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy values the child as central to their own learning, not simply an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge. Children are able to pursue their own interests and revisit and build upon ideas at their own pace.
You may have heard of something called the ‘100 languages of children’. This concept recognises that children have multiple ways of thinking, playing, exploring, speaking and doing. The Reggio Emilia approach encourages children to use every tool they have to express themselves.
A Reggio-inspired environment, often referred to as ‘the third teacher’, is one that is open and free-flowing. It enables uninterrupted exploration, play and learning. Outdoor spaces are valued just as highly as formal classrooms, and the design of the space should allow children to move freely between the two. In addition, it is important that children have free access to stimulating resources, as they cannot be the owner of their learning journey without this.Our Teachers are instrumental in creating and enabling this environment for the children, and take pride in the setting and their classrooms as an important tool in supporting children learn.
The Teacher and Parent
Teachers and parents are encouraged to observe children rather than to direct them. It is important that children are allowed to experiment in their own way, make mistakes and find new solutions. The role of the teacher/parent is to gently move students towards areas of interest to them, and this can only be done through careful observation carried out over time. In order to understand how to gently guide the children through their learning from interests, we observe and access against the following areas; schemas, characteristics of effective learning, early years learning goals, every child a talker, Ferre Laevers well-being and involvement scales.
With these in-depth assessments we are able to see where as a Teacher our attention and guidance should be concentrated for each individual child. This is also closely partnered with the child’s parents/carers as they too are an integral part of their daily learning.
The Benefits Of The Reggio Emilia Approach
Below are some of the reasons children benefit from this approach:
Children in Reggio settings are active constructors of knowledge, who are encouraged to be ‘researchers’. Most of the educational experiences within Reggio take the form of projects, where children have opportunities to actively participate, explore and question things. There is also a very strong emphasis on the social development of children as part of the community and their relationships to other children, their families and teachers.
The Reggio approach starts from the premise that children use many different ways to express their creativity, understanding and thoughts (the 100 languages). This perspective has been endorsed by many artists, who state that these different ways of thinking, exploring and learning are expressed through drawing, sculpting, music, dance and movement, painting and drama.
3. Problem solving techniques
Children are given learning projects that provide extensive research opportunities, including real-life problem solving among peers, and opportunities for creative thinking and exploration. The children are placed in small group settings with projects that they work on are observed by teachers and the children are allowed to question the topic of interest. Then they introduce materials, questions, and opportunities that provoke children to further explain the topic
Our Branches of learning
1. Bodies Focusing on the development and growth of the gross and fine motor skills to develop both large body movements and coordination in the small muscles of the hands, wrists, and fingers. Learning to negotiate space and obstacles safely, develop balancing skills and co-ordination and building an awareness and consideration for themselves and others.
2. Mind. Supporting children to have a positive sense of themselves, respect for others, social skills, emotional well-being, and a positive disposition to learning. Developing their confidence and independence, self-regulating their emotions and understanding their feelings and those of others and building friendships.
3. World Curiosity about the world around us. Building an understanding of people, culture and communities and learning about people around them, where they live and the environment around them. Helping them to make sense of the natural and physical world through exploration and investigation and learn about similarities and differences.
4. Voices Making use of every opportunity to develop communication and language skills by providing a rich language environment of books, stories, rhymes, and songs. From encouraging those first sounds and words to expressing their own ideas, feelings, and thoughts. Continuously building and extending children’s vocabulary so they become confident communicators.
5. Knowledge – knowing and understanding Building a solid foundation that supports children to develop their speaking, listening, attention, reading and writing skills. Helping children to become better listeners, communicators and readers as well as building a lifelong love of learning.
6. Numeracy Building a good grounding in early number recognition, counting, patterns, shape, size, and measure, where children explore mathematical concepts in a variety of engaging, fun, and interactive ways. Helping children to develop their problem solving and spatial awareness skills.
7. Creativity Developing creativity and imagination through play, allowing children to express and share their thoughts and ideas. Having endless opportunities to experiment with media and materials, through music and dance, exploring colours and textures and opportunities to pretend in role-play activities.
8. Discovery – outdoor learning Being outdoors boosts confidence, social skills, communication, and motivation and creates a positive attitude to learning. The benefits of our lovely big gardens are endless, that sense of freedom for children to make discoveries by themselves, learn about the natural world and create their own ideas alongside their friends. Opportunities to learn about taking risks and make calculated decisions, such as ‘should I jump off this log’ or ‘can I climb this tree?’ are invaluable for children as they begin to understand the world around them.
9. Collaborative Learning – Reggio Emilia approach – the child, the teacher, the environment. Inspiring lifelong learning. Putting children in the driving seat and empowering them to be naturally curious intelligent individuals as they explore their learning environment. Providing a rich learning environment that gives every child the opportunity to reach their full potential. The teacher also plays a crucial part through observation, listening, guidance, planning and adapting children’s learning. The curriculum is designed around the children’s interests, encouraging them to play with a variety of activities and resources, ensuring they are appropriately based on every individual child’s interests. Children can explore their interests with interruption, enabling them to reach their full potential.
10. Transition – school readiness It is important for children to feel comfortable and confident as they move into the school environment. By developing their social, physical, and intellectual skills as well as the important independent skills they need, children will have a good foundation for future progress through school and life.