[ped-uh-goj-i-kuh l] of or relating to the art or science of teaching
Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach
Dear Young School Community,
When Loris Malaguzzi wrote the words above, he was probably not thinking of a global pandemic. However, as a young man he did observe the community of Reggio Emilia build their infant-toddler centers and preschools out of the destruction from World War II. How we face our own challenges today will have a lasting impact on our children. We are committed at the Young School to our image of the young child as strong and resilient. Play, laughter, friendship; a clean, safe, and engaging learning environment; and above all an emotionally nurturing place to grow – these are rights of young children.
By necessity, most of our communication thus far has been about our Young School Caring Safely Plan: new procedures, stepped up cleaning routines, drop-off and pick-up changes, and more, that focuses on what we must do to keep our environment healthy. We are partnering with adults and children to make this work – we truly are all in this together! We would like to take this opportunity now to focus on the pedagogical side; what does our teaching and learning look like in this new normal? Above all, we want to assure you that we have not abandoned our Core Values and our beliefs about children during this time. If anything, seeing the children each day renews our strength in these beliefs every day.
Brenda Coggins, Laura Kirchner, and Beth Snyder
Corporate Pedagogical Team
The Young School has always honored the many ways that children play and learn. Our days have always been structured to include time for independent and social play, as well as individualized, small group, and whole group time with teachers. Our challenge when we opened our doors was how to continue to honor all of these, particularly social play that is so critical to children’s development, while implementing new measures that enforce restrictions on physical interactions. So, we got to work and we…
In many ways, we need not have worried. The children know our wonderful teachers behind the masks. They are continuing their journey with the children, and children are happy to interact with and see their friends – even if it is from six feet away! They are eager to share what they are doing, explore, work with materials, learn; they laugh, talk, smile, run, use their imaginations, play games, sing, paint, make messages for each other – in other words, they are resilient and, with our patient reminders, can navigate these new restrictions and in the process learn how to overcome challenges. Best of all, there is strength and joy in being together!