When World War II ended and Italy started prospering, revolutionary ideas started blossoming in the field of education as well. The best ideas are both sown and cultivated by the community, and such is the story of Reggio Emilia. Psychologist Loris Malaguzzi and the parents from the villages around the Italian town of Reggio Emilia used the progressive atmosphere to push an educational philosophy resting on social constructivism and calling exclusively for a self-guided curriculum based on exploration, community bonds, self-expression, and development. They did not underestimate children but understood what we as adults lose along the way. As parents are faced with an increasing number of holistic approaches to early education and institutions offering to take perfect care of their kiddos, we are here to break down one of the oldest and leading among them and tell you exactly where to find Reggio Emilia-inspired Preschools in Kuala Lumpur!
Reggio Emilia is perhaps precisely as powerful as it is because it is "only" an idea—an idea that is allowed to take many shapes, in the form that its host wishes, uninhibited. Schools that implement this approach cannot obtain a Reggio Emilia certificate or go through a training course—there is no such thing, so they can only be "Reggio Emilia-inspired." There is no method, no curriculum, just a well-defined underlying philosophy. It can be summed up succinctly in the underlying, core notion of "a hundred languages" which serve as a metaphor for the numerous outlets for authentic self-expression children are capable of if we let them access them. They are listened to and guided according to their own inherent, displayed, expressed interests to dive deeper into establishing communication links between themselves, their community, their environment, and their ideas.
Everyone and everything can be a teacher, but there are three official Reggio Emilia ones—the first are the teachers along with parents, the second the peers, and the third the environment. They believe it takes a village to raise a child—including the scenery. Reggio Emilia teachers are students too, which ultimately makes everyone collaborators. Kids and adults communicate and teach each other about themselves and the world, children are seen as extremely insightful and valuable members of society, teachers stay with individual groups for at least 3 years to avoid disrupting development by disrupting the community bond. Parents are an integral part of both the education process and matters such as school policy. Everyone is on the journey together.
Children surprise us every day. You surprise yourself when you're a child, and that's why Reggio Emilia takes nothing for granted. No project is planned in advance, everything is a matter of children's expression and where further exploration—an open conversation, a hands-on project, or something else—takes them. There may be no curriculum and no predetermined units, but there are plenty of materials to work with. Concepts are presented to children through music, drama, puppetry, print, shadow play, and more kids are encouraged to depict their understanding through one of many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play, writing, etc. Teachers meticulously document the children's thoughts expressed through the hundred languages and work to create new opportunities for expressing their essence.
A lot of attention is dedicated to the "third teacher." Reggio Emilia spaces are intentional and as balanced as the approach itself. Spaciousness and coziness in harmony, no clutter and no predictability of space in synergistic service of stimulation, easy access to a flood of light and community to give that holistic warmth to Reggio Emilia community members big and small!
Alice Smith School, https://welcome.alice-smith.edu.my/early-years-enquiry-2021
Anyaman Preschool, www.anyamanpreschools.com