In Reggio Emilia, the environment is considered the third teacher, a place that invites and inspires children to explore in partnership with peers and teachers.
The possibilities for how our surroundings can impact and influence our experience are innumerable.
When materials are stored and presented in respectful and inviting ways, children are learning to use them with both creativity and respect. When the space is maintained in a careful and loving way, a suggestion to maintain our relationships with the same thoughtfulness is encouraged, and when the community is an extension of our classroom, we learn to seek the expertise of our neighbors, whether it is the library, the plant nursery or the pizza parlor.
The more resources we explore, the more we invite interactions that encourage communication and understanding.
“Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes, and their ears – the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colors.” -Loris Malaguzzi
The studio and it’s materials and tools inspire and support the expression of ideas and foster individual and collaborative project work. Learning and wondering can be expressed in countless ways and children have near limitless access to experiment with a variety of materials in the well-equipped space – materials that range from paper, pens, chalk and paint to wire, wood, shells and any manner of repurposed and found objects. The act of sourcing materials can sometimes become a project unto itself as children and teachers consider unexpected possibilities.
Developing social-emotional health and awareness that are the foundation of an inclusive, responsive and joyful space.
The door at The Room To Grow is always open and there is a constant exchange of information, ideas and questions between the children, teachers and parents. Every effort is made to maintain a dialogue around community awareness, responsibility and involvement. Our organization values collaboration and makes it visible in the way the teaching teams organize and share responsibilities, through the use of the democratic process to create agreements and pro-social solutions and by accessing our surrounding community in an intentional and meaningful way.
By developing the joy of connection, self-expression and curiosity, children become lifelong learners with a strong sense of competence and a growth mindset.
Education, at its best, is a joyful and possibility-filled experience. Children and teachers are generating questions and ideas that fuel an environment where all participants are engaged in robust and challenging exploration. Learning through play and inquiry provides infinite opportunities for communication, problem solving and creative self-expression, while constructing individual knowledge and meaning. The work of forming the unique relationships that make up each year’s community leads to a rich and rewarding shared experience.
Image of the Child
Children have the right to be regarded as competent, to learn by having a voice in the community and the time to construct their own knowledge in their own way.
By first reflecting on our personal experiences as children, then on our journey as teachers and parents, we can begin to embrace an image of the child that recognizes and values the inherent competence of the individual. By approaching learning from a strength-based approach, we can empower the earliest learners to take risks, pursue ideas, express themselves confidently and be open to collaboration and compromise. Teachers present themselves as co-learners, ready to share in the children’s development by being at their side as they navigate social connections, conflicts, inquiry and discovery.