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REGGIO EMILIA TALK 20 November 2013 REGGIO EMILIA TALK 20 November 2013 Dr Frederick Ebbeck Senior Academic Advisor SEED Institute Early Childhood Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "REGGIO EMILIA TALK 20 November 2013 REGGIO EMILIA TALK 20 November 2013 Dr Frederick Ebbeck Senior Academic Advisor SEED Institute Early Childhood Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 REGGIO EMILIA TALK 20 November 2013 REGGIO EMILIA TALK 20 November 2013 Dr Frederick Ebbeck Senior Academic Advisor SEED Institute Early Childhood Conference 2013 Coming Together: Excellence & Partnerships in Early Childhood Development

2 What is Creativity in Young Children? There are two main views on creativity: the first being that it is a personality characteristic and trait; the second is that while it exists in everyone it depends on intimate interaction between the individual and his/her socio-cultural environment. Social and environmental factors shape a definition of creativity.

3 Emotions play a central role in creativity Emotions such as  curiosity,  wonderment, and  passion influence the creative imaginations of both adults and children and provide intrinsic motivation. The thinking process is inherent in creativity and is, to some extent, socially defined because creative people do not operate in a vacuum but within a social context.

4 We know from our understanding of child development that a child’s motivation is central to effective learning. We know that the right kind of extrinsic motivation – such as encouragement to succeed, support in one’s endeavours – greatly encourages one’s intrinsic motivation – coming from within oneself.

5 Learners need mental motivation to start and mental satisfaction to complete the process. Interest in the task at hand is important motivationally because it influences the learner’s attention, their willingness to take risks, their persistence and their acquisition of knowledge (Wu, 2004).

6 Underlying principles or tenets of the Reggio Emilia Approach 1.Children are viewed as competent learners – their natural curiosity and plasticity, their desire to communicate and relate with other people and their desire to grow all offer a rich potential for strong and powerful development. 2.Children are treated as having rights rather than simply needs.

7 3.The preschool for young children should be a living organism, a place of shared lives and relationships among many adults and children. The preschool should respond to the here-and-now of children’s lives, liberating their energies and capacities. 4.The conceptual framework of the preschool curriculum is the emergent or negotiated curriculum where the children’s contributions to the development of their own knowledge are highly valued.

8 5. The Reggio preschools have joint teacher- child decision making as well as adult and peer scaffolding of children’s learning through cooperative projects and settings that foster group play. 6. There is an emphasis on collaborative framework between teachers, children, families and the community. Children’s learning is a collaborative process and the social aspects of learning are important.

9 7.Teachers are considered to be equal partners in learning and generate a sense of trust. The teacher is a listener, provocateur, negotiator of meaning, listener to the children’s conversations, helping them to elaborate on their ideas, negotiating with them in furthering these ideas and then documenting the children’s experiences.

10 Reggio Emilia and Creativity The Approach Teachers use strategies aimed at promoting children’s effective self- directed or independent learning.

11 Children should be involved in real-life situations and problems. The children play with ideas and materials in an open environment and are not restricted to a formalised curriculum with set goals and objectives. The children are encouraged to design their own learning activities aided by the professionalism of the teachers, who are able to direct and extend the children’s learning in new directions.

12 The curriculum Children are the focus, not the curriculum. The planning of a curriculum must be negotiated between all those involved – in the planning and in the projects and activities as they unfold. Teachers identify general educational objectives but allow the specific goals for each project or activity to be flexible, emerging from the interests and ideas of the children.

13 A curriculum that teachers for creativity provides time for reflecting and revisiting topics. Children learn new aspects of knowledge as they re-engage with their ideas.

14 The environment as the third teacher The educators prepare the environment – every place is a fluid zone where persons interact with one another and with the environment. The preschool environment is both physical – in that children need a rich sensory environment to heighten their aesthetic awareness, to develop their thinking skills, and to encourage representation at many levels (Fraser, 2006); and social in that play is fundamental to the creative context – teachers develop an intimate relationship with children.

15 Putting theory into practice Dr Kam’s research in Hong Kong found that: there are two main ways of finding out how children express their creativity:  first through careful and consistent observing of each child as they go through their work throughout each day and  second from their artefacts.

16 In addition, the research found that: the most common ways by which children express their individuality are – originality, elaboration, fluency and flexibility.

17 Originality is the child’s ability to produce uncommon or unique responses (Torrance, 1998). Elaboration is the child’s ability to develop, embroider, embellish, carry out, or otherwise elaborate ideas (Torrance, 1998). Fluency is the child’s ability to produce a large number of figural images- the fluidity of their thoughts, one idea bring forth another idea and so on. Flexibility is the child’s ability to produce a variety of kinds of ideas to shift from one approach to another or to use a variety of strategies (Torrance, 1974).

18 From the Emergent Curriculum to Project Work The project approach is not a curriculum. It complements all other learning experiences. Teachers identify general educational objectives. Teachers predict happenings as the children’s learning progresses. Specific goals for each project or activity are flexible and are seen as emerging from the interests and ideas of children.

19 There should be negotiation between all those involved in the development of the curriculum. The curriculum emerges in the process of each activity and is flexibly adjusted according to each learning situation. An emergent curriculum begins with observation of children and their interests. Teachers observe children’s behaviour in the classroom environment, listening to them and recording their ideas. They then select one or more topics from these observations that seem to interest the children (Fraser, 2006).

20 Documenting their findings Project work is designed to help young children make deeper and fuller sense of experiences, events and phenomena in their environment. Projects must generate a sufficient amount of interest to provoke children’s creative thinking and problem solving.

21 Documenting their findings Projects can become adventures that teachers and children embark upon together. Sufficient time needs to be allowed for children’s thinking and actions to develop. Group dynamics are part of the socialisation process – when people believe that they belong, they also feel connected, capable and competent to meet the needs of the group.

22 We will now consider several projects that exemplify what we have been discussing

23 I will leave you with the following reflections and insights of children: Looking into the big world with small eyes, children wander through small towns, big cities and the universe to capture the trivialities of their life and the fantasies triggered by their passion and imagination Conclusion

24 To an adult, a child’s moments of interest may seem like trivialities, but in the sparkling eyes of a child they are giant episodes Life is a fusion of bits and pieces of happenings all around us. Children like to break out of boundaries …… They possess an ability to find joy in everything

25 A child’s world is different from an adult’s world. It is made up of poetry, songs and fairy tales ….. Dr Frederick Ebbeck SEED Institute E-mail:


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