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Reggio-inspired Tag

Richland Academy / Posts tagged "Reggio-inspired" (Page 2)

An Education for Understanding: ‘Backward Design’

William Butler Yeats so aptly once said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” This prominent 20th Century poet and playwright was wise to the vast difference between knowing and understanding. To simply know facts is not to understand what makes those facts knowledge. “To understand is to be able to wisely and effectively use– transfer– what we know, in context; to apply knowledge and skills effectively, in realistic tasks and settings.” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 4). So how can today’s education system help students achieve this type of ‘education for understanding?’ Teachers– as collaborators and guides– must find creative ways to stimulate their students’ natural curiosities and allow them to make connections between theories, while building the skills and attitudes they will need for life-long learning. Child-centered and retrospective curricula design, combined with inquiry-based learning, will allow schools to foster authentic student learning experiences, by providing students with opportunities to engage in meaningful learning experiences; to explore, investigate, discover, collaborate and communicate with others in an experiential and ‘minds-on’ learning environment.

“The Hundred Languages of Children”

Whether you are well-versed in the Reggio Emilia Approach or new to this engaging philosophy, “The Hundred Languages of Children” (Second Edition) is a must-read for parents and educators everywhere. Assembled by Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini and George Forman, with foreword by Howard Gardner, this rich resource presents a comprehensive overview of the Reggio Emilia philosophy and practices of the city-run early childhood program of Reggio Emilia, Italy.

A Reggio Journey

According to Malaguzzi, “Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water.  Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn.”

Richland Academy is now entering its tenth anniversary, and comes with a history of traditional teaching.  Now three years into the transition from a traditional teaching model to a Reggio inspired approach, the wonders of this way of supporting learners is emerging.  But with it comes the challenges of bringing on board an already existing team of excellent teachers, as well as new teachers, and asking them to teach and learn through a different lens.  We are learning how to listen and how to observe the children and each other.   As we constantly reflect, we realize that our journey, although fraught with self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and the need for us to let go of our own personal egos, also brings us renewed joy in our teaching, allows for deeper creativity and is moving us all towards 21st century learning, that is based on natural inquiry and the child as a key player in his own learning.

What JK Learned about Tomatoes

The JK students gathered on the carpet to discuss and share their findings concerning the JK unit of interest about the harvest and tomatoes. The children were asked the following simple question: ‘What did you learn about tomatoes?’

The thought and meaningful discussion that ensued is by far ‘not simple’, but rather a complex learning and retrieving experience for our JK boys and girls!

The Freedom to Learn in the Conceptual Age of Schooling

As we move into what is being called the “creative” or “conceptual” age, success in a few narrow core subjects will no longer prepare students for this world.

To provide youth with the tools and knowledge to successfully handle future challenges and opportunities, a change in educational philosophy is necessary. Learning and thinking must be considered subjects in and of themselves if we are to adequately prepare students for their futures. Students need opportunities to work collaboratively and think critically and creatively about ideas and issues across a range of disciplines, while developing a solid academic foundation and enhancing their intelligences, including “soft skills” such as understanding, empathy, collaboration and communication skills. Schools must grant students the right to take ownership of their work and engage them in the decision-making process, so that they may build their intellectual character while exploring ideas and solutions.

The Reggio Philosophy: A Journey to Life-Long Learning

The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy that inspires students to become life-long learners. It is a movement that has made way for schools filled with questions instead of answers and learning instead of teaching; schools where children are asked what they think and where teachers plan and implement curriculum based on child-initiated activity. It acknowledges children as competent and capable learners that are full of potential and able to communicate with or without words. It is evident that this approach will continue to open doors of endless possibilities for children.

Recognizing that the journey to becoming a life-long learner begins with the awareness of, and appreciation for, curiosity, it was a clear choice for Richland Academy to adopt a Reggio-inspired approach to inquiry learning beginning three years ago. We find that this philosophy better allows us to follow the natural development of children, as well as the close partnerships they share with their parents, teachers, and the environment.

Reggio: Observations from the Untrained Eye

With not a hint of knowledge about the Reggio Emilia philosophy, I began my journey at Richland Academy on September 13th as the newest member of this welcoming community. From the moment I set off, I instantaneously entered a world of discovery, reflection and amazement: Children communicating with or without words, teachers supporting critical and creative thinking, parents partaking in classroom activities, and signs of nature both inside and outside the classrooms. As the days go by, I am astounded at how congruent the philosophy embraced by the school is to the Chinese Proverb displayed in each classroom: ‘Tell me, and I may forget. Show me, and I might remember. Involve me, and I will understand.’