As school systems worldwide scramble to keep up with the fast-paced educational needs of this next generation, they are finding more and more that the traditional idea of “rote memory” learning is archaic. We can look up information in seconds; we just have to learn to ask the questions. The Reggio approach to early childhood education helps a child to develop the higher critical thinking skills necessary to understand what questions they want to ask.
Children actually WANT to learn! All the time! It’s important to allow them to be an active participant in what they are learning. Memorizing something is not learning. Completing a work sheet on the letter C does not mean you actually fully understand what the letter C means. The ability to count to 10 in sequential order means nothing if you do not know how many makes 3.
So how do we address a child’s natural propensity towards learning with respect to their individual interests? We offer an emergent curriculum that follows a few key concepts to lead us to a path that the child feels is interesting enough in which to participate, and inspiring enough to experience more.
At Stone Ridge Montessori, we know that children are competent, enthusiastic and imaginative thinkers. When they join us, they have already begun to form interests in the experiences they have gained. Reggio Emilia embraces emergent curriculum as it originates from the ideas and curiosities of children. The teacher observes, listens and presents provocations (projects targeting the interests of the children), thus sprouting new insights and creating new possibilities.
Our teachers are considered co-learners and collaborators with their students. They uncover through meticulous observation the true interests of the child. They collaborate to encourage deeper learning experiences and provide ample opportunity to explore the child’s interests.
Our teachers study their students and document their learning experiences through photographs, projects, videos and notes. Their goal is always to research new methods and ideas to inspire their students to reach beyond the materials presented and ask the questions to deepen their critical thinking skills.
The Third Teacher
The environment is the third teacher. Our students have access to explore materials as their interests develop. Our shelves are open and full of hands-on projects to investigate. They contain a wealth of beautiful materials, promoting their creative ideas and curiosities.
The Hundred Languages of Children
As Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Approach to early childhood education, maintains – “ the child has a hundred languages.” We nurture our students so they are comfortable to express their perceptions of the world by providing avenues such as drawing, painting, sculpture, dramatic play, dance, movement, mathematics, language arts, poetry and writing.