At Child Time Inc., our programs and curriculum are centered around the Reggio Emilia approach. The Reggio Emilia approach, conceived from the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy after World War II, is an educational movement for preschool and early elementary schools. We believe that this program is a powerful source of teaching toddlers and young children as it puts the child and their unique needs at the center of the curriculum. There isn’t a cookie-cutter type of curriculum, as each class centers the learning off of the makeup of the class. A relative to the Reggio Emilia approach is Montessori Schooling, birthed from Dr. Montessori’s revolutionary educational approaches. In this blog, we’re going to explore what makes up both learning programs, and why we chose to utilize the Reggio Emilia approach for our students.
The Montessori method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, and Italian innovator, physician and educator. She believed there was a gap in the way children were being educated versus the way in which they should be educated, so she created the Montessori School in 1907. The rest is history, as this program has been implemented for over 100 years. Putting it in the simplest of terms, the Montessori educational approach has an emphasis on independence, giving the child freedom with limits, allowing the children to naturally learn. Now, in contemporary times, this approach to education can take many forms, but we will discuss a few notable aspects of this approach. One noteworthy way in which the Montessori educational approach is implemented in a classroom is through a mixed age classroom. This allows younger children to learn from older, mirroring how learning is in the world outside academia. Furthermore, it reinforces learning for the older children as they aren’t just memorizing information and getting tested on it, they are actually applying their skills by teaching it to other students. Another hallmark to the Montessori educational approach is sensory-motor activities. Students learn with materials to develop knowledge through their direct experiences. For example, in a math class, materials are used to help a child manipulate the usage of it in mathematical functions, and practice with numbers, operations, sequence and other mathematical fundamentals in a hands-on approach. A child is also taught in a “normalized community, which allows them to work with few concentrations.” This “normalized community is utilized from teaching the child to be self-disciplined, ordered, and focused throughout their school environment to learn at an optimal way that benefits their future in school.
Reggio Emilia, as discussed before, was conceived after the Montessori educational approach following the end of World War II. They were both born from Italy, and both believe in a child-centered approach that views children as independent and resourceful. However, the Reggio Emilia involves more collaborative small-group work. It embraces that idea that the teacher is a co-learner, not just someone in the classroom who leads an educational lesson. It is not fundamentally based off the child’s independence, but that the child and their learning environment are interdependent. The Reggio Emilia approach is one that is constantly adapted to the individual needs of the children in the classroom, and this is done through first-hand observation from the teacher. In small classrooms, like the classes offered at Child Time Inc., the teacher has the ability to learn and understand how each individual child learns and thinks, uniquely adapting and implementing specific learning techniques. As a child begins their journey into education, keeping them interested is paramount, and the Reggio Emilia approach does just that. Every day is not the same old schedule, keeping the students on their toes. This helps to provide an environment that caters to the interests and needs of each child. The curriculum developed is based on the individuals in the classrooms, which allows the children to make a connection with their lessons and have that “ah-ha” moment that inspires them to want to continuously learn. This lays the seeds for their continued dedication and interest in learning for the rest of their educational lives.
Why We Chose Reggio Emilia
Child Time Inc. implements the Reggio Emilia approach as we believe it has a powerful contribution into the fundamentals of learning for early childhood education. We believe that there is power in setting up a classroom that develops the unique needs of each and every child, as everyone has different learning strengths and weaknesses. Our teachers are dedicated to the success of children, encouraging engagement in areas in which they feel comfortable, as well as exploring those areas in which they may not necessarily feel as comfortable. This allows them to gain confidence in their learning abilities, while pushing them to exceed boundaries that may exist in their learning process. The immersion in their tasks, while working in and interdependent environment, provides your child with the best possible early education program. We constantly shape the design for the classroom, and ensure that each student learns and understands the fundamentals.
The Reggio Emilia educational approach has many benefits compared to the Montessori program. Though both are revolutionary early educational programs, we believe that our Reggio Emilia approach provides your child with the most well-rounded and thorough approach to early childhood education. We are proud to say that Child Time Inc. is where quality education meets satisfaction, and we are dedicated to providing both elements for each and everyone of our students. Learn more about our philosophy, and contact us today with any questions!