The Reggio Emilia teaching approach is named after the city in Italy where it was founded. The creator was Loris Malaguzzi, who developed the program after World War II when schools were being rebuilt and updated after many schools were destroyed. In the rebuild, parents and teachers worked together to create a program that encompassed more critical thinking and collaborative learning.
The United States began to adopt the Reggio Emilia method after it was introduced in 1987 to the annual conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The teaching method then spread to other areas in the world, like Singapore. Unlike other very set curriculums with defined teaching policies, the Reggio Emilia approach is quite flexible in the way that establishments follow the teaching guidelines.
The schools in Singapore that adopt the approach, therefore, do it in their own way to cater to Singapore and expat students.
The fundamental principles of this mode of teaching are based on the assumption that children are capable of creating their own learning processes without too much interference from adults. This means that the curriculum of the Reggio Emilia method is very much open to children pursuing their strong interests and using their exploration as valuable time to learn. Children are encouraged to be their own teachers, first and foremost. Learn more about the values which underpin Reggio Emilia here.
The environment where the student is learning (namely, the classroom and school itself) is often referred to in the Reggio Emilia method as the ‘third teacher,’ where children make sense of their world through how they interact with their environment.
The pre-school environments are generally designed in wide-open spaces which contain a lot of natural light and usually easy access to outdoor play areas. The classroom is created to be a common area where children are able to move about the space and interact with one another.
There is also a lot of hands-on learning materials like toys, blocks, and more. Like other classrooms, you’ll find display walls where the students' work is shared. Additionally, other areas will contain the more long-term projects that are accessed to continue to be worked on (like growing plants, for example).
The educator is often described less as a teacher and more of the ‘facilitator’ of the children’s learning. They are there to listen to the child’s needs, answer their questions, and explore what their interests are. They then provide them with opportunities to explore their interests, with the learning projects being created based on what is shared (rather than pre-planned). The teachers who work with this method in Singapore all follow these guidelines.
The unique curriculum of AIS draws on the principles of Reggio Emilia philosophy, which places the child at the center of the learning experience. The learning spaces on campus guide each child’s exploration of the world around them, celebrating their ideas in mathematics and literacy, music and movement, or learning a new language. Teachers work with students to develop their innate wonder and develop their love of learning. The inquiry-based approach of the IB Primary Years Programme is introduced from 3 years old, providing the foundation for success in Elementary School.
Australian International School Singapore, 1 Lorong Chuan Singapore 556 818, tel: +65 6517 0247, email@example.com, www.ais.com.sg/
The nursery learning center at the XCL World Academy school in Singapore has been inspired by the Reggio Emilia method. The school (formally known as the GEMS World Academy) features modern facilities with many different sports centers, small class sizes for personalized learning, and expert teachers. They pride themselves on developing successful students that reach IB Diploma results well above the world’s average scores. Your children can stay at this school from 2 years old all the way to 18 years old.
XCL World Academy, 2 Yishun Street 42, Singapore, +65 6871 8809, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.xwa.edu.sg/#
This school caters to children from 18 months to 18 years of age, taking them through their whole schooling journey. At the Early Learning Village, the Reggio Emilia approach has inspired the hands-on, child-centric approach. They have natural wooden structures, open classroom spaces, and a teaching environment based on facilitating your child’s interactive, self-guided learning. This approach is taught to children from 2 months to 6 years old, with the added services of infant care for busy parents.
Stamford American International School Early Learning Village, 3 Chuan Lane, Gate 4, Singapore, +65 6602 7247, email@example.com, www.sais.edu.sg/
Lily Valley International Preschool is a non-profit organization committed to establishing and maintaining a warm, inclusive, and stimulating learning environment for children. Their philosophy and pedagogy is child centered and nurtures children’s potential and creativity by providing rich learning environments for exploration. They are a preschool that cultivates collaboration and participation in a diverse community with meaningful partnerships with children and families.
The indoor sensory gym of the preschool at SMMIS is designed to foster Reggio Emilia style education for young children. They begin educating children from 18 months old in this early learning section and continue with their studies up to 16 years. The school is intentionally small and affordable for people of all nationalities and religious backgrounds to feel welcome and nurtured. Along with their collaborative education model, they provide state-of-the-art facilities like a rooftop swimming pool, science labs, art and drama spaces, a sports hall, and more.
Sir Manasseh Meyer International School, 3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang, Singapore, +65 6331 4633, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.smmis.edu.sg/
This school has been voted Singapore’s “Best Holistic Programme” for a few years in a row. This is due to their comprehensive model offering children a bilingual learning experience. After your young ones go through their infant care program, they will move on to the preschool that incorporates both the Reggio Emilia method and the Habits of Mind framework. This unique framework hails from the US, and Mulberry Learning is the only certified preschool in Singapore to offer this regime. Learn more about Habits of Mind and how it can work with the Reggio Emilia learning philosophy here.
Mulberry Learning, 15 locations across Singapore, +65 6653 8082, email@example.com, www.mulberrylearning.com
This preschool is all about nurturing young minds through curiosity and open-format child-centric learning. The preschool was founded in 2018 by Amber Koh. She is a strong advocate for outdoor nature-based learning and the Reggio Emilia teaching method. With the balance of structure integrated into the inquiry-based curriculum, the overall experience that children have at Bucket House Preschool is supportive, encouraging, and warm. The wooden structures of the spaces, both indoor and outdoor, give an organic feel to the classroom environment. You’ll find a lot of greenery in the inclusion of beautiful plants, too. Nature-lovers appreciate this Singapore preschool.
Bucket House Preschool, 39 Woodlands Cl, #01-62 Mega at Woodlands, Singapore, +65 6909 8373, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.buckethousepreschool.com
Additional Reggio Emilia Schools In Singapore
ITS Education Asia, www.itseducation.asia/singapore/
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