For those of you who have followed the blog since 2011, you might recall that I had the opportunity to travel to Reggio Emilia, Italy, and learn about their famous early childhood approach...
While visiting the small town and schools, as well as listening to the lectures given by the Italian educators, I felt inspired and extremely overwhelmed. How would I ever achieve something remotely as beautiful or complex as this philosophy that I was so privileged to see in action?
Upon my return, I struggled to separate what I saw and wished for, with what would be possible and realistic within my own transformation. Through my readings, courses, and the study tour experience, I developed a strong sense of respect for the Reggio Emilia approach. It was never my intention to replicate it, however, I desperately wanted a small piece of it to live on in my daily reality.
For months, I wondered, how I might honour the Italian philosophy, while staying true to my unique beliefs and context. Four years later, and a lot of dabbling and inspiration still heavily rooted in the Reggio Emilia approach, I returned back to the world renowned schools...
My second visit to Reggio Emilia, Italy, would be a chance for me to re-explore the approach, think more critically about it, in hopes of going deeper with my developing understandings. I didn't spend as much time sketching every material and classroom layout within the schools or ferociously jotting down entire lectures... Instead, my focus shifted from the "how" they had accomplished such rich learning environments and programs, to the "why" they believed what they did and the way it translated into practice.
I used the study tour trip, lectures, school tours, and my personal reflections, as a means to spark further inquiry into their notion of an emergent curriculum. What was of particular interest to me was who became involved in project work, how the Italian educators supported students with varying abilities (children with special rights), and the home and school connection.
Please follow along this week (and perhaps next!), to read more about my reflections and experiences in Reggio Emilia, Italy, while I continue to study the approach within my Canadian context.