The Reggio Emilia Approach is a way of self-directed experiential learning. Teachers are there to provide some structure by facilitating activities in the classroom, but don’t provide strict outcomes or steps for the activity.
This method encourages children to explore, ask questions and learn through their senses instead of being told what they should be learning from the activity.
The teacher’s role
The term “self-guided” may make it sound like skilled teachers are not necessary to the process. However, teachers still play an important part in the child’s education. Just by introducing the shell of an activity, providing art materials and asking children to use them as they see fit or pairing children up, teachers are assisting in a child’s self-guided learning experience.
Additionally, teachers can be there along the way to ask questions that help a child’s self-discovery of different aspects of learning new things.
Setting the scene
The environment your children learn in is important for the Reggio Emilia Approach. This is because for children to effectively be able to explore and learn, they need different areas to do so. A combination of outdoor and indoor play is important.
Additionally, the classroom and activity guidance your teachers provide should include space and activities designed for solo, paired and group activities. Children can then learn different types of social skills along the way as they talk about observations out loud and receive interactions from their peers.
An extremely important aspect of this approach is strong documentation to gather the information the children are observing and learning. This helps with next steps as well as having the teacher provide some mild structure to the activity by asking questions and encouraging the children to come up with those answers on their own.
Childcare software is an ideal way to document this learning process. iCare Software’s Journaling functionality allows teachers to insert observations and a child’s progress throughout the self-guided learning journey. The journal notes make for an easy process for teachers to go back and view previous lessons as they look to build upon the child’s learnings.
Another great tool for documenting a child’s learning is to take photos of the work completed. This is especially helpful with art projects. Photos enable a teacher to more clearly cross-compare progress of a child’s skillset. iCare Software’s Photo Sharing feature allows teachers to take photos directly from the web-based application and add to a child’s file. During this process, they can also send these photos to parents to enable them to share in their child’s learning process and experience.
This style of learning can be powerful for a child’s ability to learn their whole life through exploration and questioning. If your childcare is looking to implement it, contact us to learn more about how iCare Software can assist in transitioning your childcare to the Reggio Emilia Approach.