Celebrating 25 Years of Educating and Caring for Young Children.

the Reggio Emilia approach

The Reggio Emilia Approach
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Named after the town in Italy where it was developed soon after World War II, Reggio Emilia has become a curriculum model of excellence that has attracted worldwide attention. Our schools continue to develop this approach in our unique learning communities and make the commitments necessary – from curriculum to the design of the learning environment – to embrace this approach.

The Hundred Languages of Children

Throughout the learning process, children are encouraged to depict their understanding in one of many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play, and writing. Graphic representation is one of the key ways that teachers have a “window” into the learning process of young children. Revision of ideas and expression is welcomed, as is the opportunity to explore and modify each other’s work.

The Role of the Environment

Often referred to as the “third teacher,” the learning environment is an important part of the unique The Young SchoolSM experience. The rooms flow into each other, integrating the spaces for different activities, even different age groups. Many of the children’s projects hang on the walls and from the ceilings. There are indoor plants and vines and lots of natural light. A rich variety of materials are offered to promote independent and group interactions, as well as spark creativity and problem-solving.

Foundation Projects as Vehicles for Learning

This goes well beyond what you normally think of as a “theme” or “unit” in school. Children may start with a class discussion, discover a line of inquiry, represent their ideas graphically, build their ideas into a group project in the Art Studio, and finally celebrate their discoveries by inviting families to share their learning. This could involve planning and making decorations, writing invitations, writing a companion story and acting it out as a play at the celebration. The best projects create a high level of interest that can be sustained for many weeks – the idea is to foster curiosity, creative thinking, and problem-solving that allows individual children to pursue different avenues of exploration within a group focus.

Teachers as Learners

Instead of being scripted by rigid manuals and guides, teachers work within a flexible framework where objectives are tied directly to the Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum. Teachers are encouraged to work together, observe the children, and constantly re-evaluate how to best expand on the children’s spontaneous activities. Planning is done as a team of teachers in each cottage to promote the best possible learning experiences and in-depth exploration based on a complete picture of each child’s development.



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Children pursuing creative projects at Young School<sup>SM</sup>

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