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Reggio-inspired pedagogy Whilst it is relatively well-known that the Ecole Internationale de Genève — affectionately known as Ecolint - was the first international school in the world, and the birthplace of the International Baccalaureate, Ecolint has another claim to fame which is less well known. Ecolint is also home to Switzerland’s Reggio-inspired educational programme. So what does that mean?

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nspired by a desire to create change at all levels in society in the immediate aftermath of World War II, the pedagogy known as “Reggio-inspired” or the “Reggio approach” was developed by pedagogue Loris Malaguzzi in the Northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia, which remains at the heart of the movement. The Reggio approach is built on a core of pedagogical beliefs which are focused on learning in early childhood, although many can be applied throughout all stages of life. Unlike some educational systems or philosophies, however, the Reggio approach is not one that can be easily “cut and pasted”. It is deeply embedded in the social context in which each school is situated, and requires a highly experienced and intensively trained pedagogical team to bring it to life in a school environment, taking into account the realities of the school community, which includes all staff, students, and parents, who must work together to build a successful environment for learning and intentional pedagogical project. The Reggio approach is built on the premise that every child is a competent learner, who is capable of rigorous research and intensive focus. This includes children who in traditional systems would be considered to have “special needs”, but which Reggio schools prefer to regard as children with “special rights” who enjoy the same approach to learning as their peers.

What logically flows from the first premise of the child as a competent learner are the key principles which govern the approach to learning. Firstly, the principle that the child is the primary architect of his or her own learning, posing their own research questions and devising their own ways to seek answers, through a constructivist (i.e. building their own learning) approach, rather than the passive or didactic approach common to many traditional educational systems in which the theory would see the learner passively absorb information which is conveyed by a teacher. Secondly, to enable this constructivism, the learning experience must be multi-sensorial, with children given the opportunity to learn through observing, touching, smelling, tasting (where appropriate), listening and interacting with stimuli, whether they are naturally present in nature or the classroom, or are intentionally and thoughtfully offered to the child as a “provocation”. Next, Malaguzzi postulated that children possess “100 languages” which they use to construct and communicate their understanding. This includes verbal language, but also movement, music, role-play, media such as clay, watercolour, etc. which are all seen as equally valid languages of and for learning. Lastly, the Reggio approach is strongly dependent on the relationships and interrelationships which the child learner has with the “three teachers” which the Reggio approach recognises. The concept of the three teachers is INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN 2019 | 22

central to Reggio pedagogy. The child is the first teacher, since it is the individual curiosity, autonomous research, and commitment to learning naturally present in children which open the pathway to the majority of learning. The second teacher is the other learners, including adults who accompany the learner(s), whether they are the regular classroom teacher, the team of specialists or atelieristas who enhance projects via their expertise in sculpture, music, drama, etc., the pedagogista who works with teachers and parents, or the other members of staff, who are all - from cook, to cleaner, to caretaker - seen as an integral part of the pedagogical team, and expected to contribute to the pedagogical project. The third teacher is the physical environment - whether built or natural - in which the learner evolves. To maximise learning, Reggio-inspired environments are designed to be as natural and neutral as possible, focusing more on the learners themselves and the various materials offered to them. The environments are as diverse as the contexts in which the schools exist. In general

Profile for International School Parent Magazine

International School Parent Magazine - Autumn Edition 2019  

International School Parent Magazine helps parents make the right choices for their children, whether that is deciding what to do at the wee...

International School Parent Magazine - Autumn Edition 2019  

International School Parent Magazine helps parents make the right choices for their children, whether that is deciding what to do at the wee...