3The city of Reggio emilia Reggio Emilia is a multicultural city in northern Italy, with a population of around It is in the Po Valley, 50 km from Bologna. The city covers 23sq Km and is around 58m above sea level. It has its origins in 2BC as a trade route. The old city is built in a hexagonal shape with the buildings mainly 16th and 17th century. The areas is know for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Balsamic Vinegar and Lambrusco wine. I enjoyed all of these items, some more than others.
5From small beginningsFollowing WW II, group of parents worked together and built the first pre- school walls out of the rubble of bombed houses. This was the spark that led to the beginning of the breakdown of traditional patterns in education in Reggio Emilia. The philosophy, values and principles have endured and the key aspects for the role of the City in Education are parent participation, respect for children and the belief in their capabilities, the teacher as a learner, their critical relationship with both the child and their parents and the importance of the environment. The City of Reggio Emilia's support for education is a high priority, with 25% of the city's budget going to education and 15% of that going to early childhood, to support their strong interest and commitment to the education of the children of Reggio Emilia.
6Reggio emilia philosophy This philosophy orginated in the Pre-Schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy and has earned an international reputation for its child-centred approach to early learning. It is a philosophy that can be incorporated relatively easily and effectively within our own schools, regardless of the year levels. "We believe the child is strong, powerful and rich in resources; we believe the child processes the world through a hundred languages; we believe the child builds reality" Loris Malguzzi, Reggio Emilia. The philosophy, and therefore a school's curriculum, promotes children's education through the development of all their languages- expressive, communicative, symbolic, cognitive, ethical, metaphorical, logical, imaginative and relational. There is a significant focus on the environment, with the belief that the 'environment is the third teacher'. This is the basis of the Reggio Emilia experience.
7Key Elements of the Reggio Philosophy TIME- unhurried time for the children to 'experience' their hours at school SPACE- ample space for the children to leave unfinished work, to be continued the next day; space which inspires children to work; space that fosters natural light; harmonious colours; space for comfortable, child-sized areas; conceptual space of inquiry and discovery. CLIMATE- a classroom atmosphere reflecting adult encouragement and acceptance of mistakes, risk-taking, and uniqueness, along with certain amounts of mess, noise and freedom. OPPORTUNITIES- for adventure DOCUMENTATION- through documentation of the learning process of the child, focusing on social development, aesthetic judgements and skills development. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES- the use of computers for creativity and not only for functional purposes.
8Lessons for teachersThe child must be the co-creator of their own reality; the teacher therefore acts as a partner to learning. Teachers must be sensitive to the child's intelligence and must not regard the child as an empty vessel that must be 'filled up' with knowledge. The Reggio Emilia experience encourages learning to be directed by the child's interests and readiness and recognises that learning arises through the child's relationship with others.
9Have belief that children can and will learn Have belief that children can and will learn. Children are powerful, active and competent protagonists of their own growth. Value the knowledge they bring to their own learning.Listen to what children are saying. Listening means being fully attentive to the child and at the same time taking responsibility for recording what is observed and then using it as a basis for decision-making shared with children and parents. Teaching and learning are built through relationships. The teacher acts as a learner, partner and guide. Try to understand children’s thinking but don’t feel obligated to change it because it differs from your own.
10Analyse and interpret childrens thinking/learning (expressed through their talk, their play and their documentation). Support your interpretations through collegial discussion. Respond by providing opportunities to build on this learning.Set up a learning environment that fosters curiosity and exploration.Provide the materials and resources for children to construct and express their understanding in lots of different ways. Provide a learning environment filled with everyday materials, gathered and made available to children and adults, to initiate and support their explorations and investigations. Provide uncluttered spaces in which children can work and think.
11Encourage children to explore the environment around them, to look closely, talk about it and document in detailAllow children the space and opportunity to construct their own learningCreate opportunities for children to work in different types of groups. Offer children contexts and situations in which they can learn together.Teachers need to also be learners, engaging in a process of inquiry, encountering the world with the same curiosity, interest wonder and amazement as the children they teach. Teachers have to have the courage to be open to the unexpected and the unpredictable. They need to be learners and researchers prepared to relearn with children.
13The Loris Malaguzzi International Centre is the home of the Reggio Emilia Philosophy. The centre is set up to showcase the philosophy of Reggio Emilia and is not only a conference centre, but also a preschool through to Year 6 and is a living example of what is possible. This is an experimental program, which has included primary age children, because the rest of the Italian Primary school system is very formal and structured.
14Remida Recycling Centre Remida is a place that promotes the idea that waste materials can be resources. The Centre collects, displays, and distributes alternative and reclaimed materials obtained from the unsold stock and scrap materials of industrial production, with the aim to reinvent their use and meaning. The center is managed by the Friends of Reggio Children International Association, now merged into the Reggio Children-Loris Malaguzzi Centre Foundation. The Centre distributes materials (paper, cardboard, ceramic, paints, cord, leather, rubber, wood, and so on) to teachers of infant- toddler centers and preschools, elementary, middle, and secondary schools.
19We would like to thanks the Auckland Primary Principals Association for their financial support for the Manurewa Principals to attend this professional development-Karen McMurray – Randwick Park SchoolIain Taylor Manurewa Intermediate SchoolLinda Kelly Takanini Primary SchoolJan Donaldson – Wiri Central SchoolSusannah Fowler- The Gardens SchoolCathy Chalmers- Greenmeadows Intermediate School