The Fundamental Principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach
At SIS PREP children are seen as inquirers, researchers, and curious beings with high potential, who have the ability to construct knowledge of the world by interacting with it. We believe that environment – the child’s surroundings is the third teacher; first being the child himself and second being his teacher at SIS PREP.
For us, the child is a young adult who deserves respect just as any of us, who can make decisions and problem solve if given opportunity and support.
We follow a unique approach called Reggio Emilia which was originated in Italy and now is held high by many educators who value child-led education. SIS PREP has a strong relationship with Reggio Children, (Italy) an organization that promotes and supports this approach. Reggio Emilia (India) Foundation is an initiative by SIS in supporting Reggio Children (Italy) in its mission. There are some fundamental principles of this approach that define and differentiate this approach of education for young children from any other methodology:
1. Children are capable of constructing their own learning. They are simply driven by their interest and motivation. At SIS we refrain from instructing children, we only scaffold and facilitate them.
2. Children form an understanding of themselves and of the world through their interactions with others. At SIS PREP, we focus on strong social collaborations and working in groups, where questions and mistakes are valued. We believe that we are not knowledge-providers, but only facilitators in the journey where children find meanings themselves.
3. Children are communicators and teachers at SIS PREP value questions and dialogues. Children are listened to with respect and their thoughts and reflections are valued. We often find ourselves involved in a ping-pong conversation with children throughout the day. At SIS, we record these conversations for parents to know what and how their child thinks, which brings me to my next point.
4. Making learning visible through documentation of children’s work, pieces of art, reflective processes is an important part of this approach. At SIS we value every scribble done by the child as compared to a fancy craft done with maximum inputs from the teacher.
5. Last but most important, the Hundred Languages of the Children, a hundred different ways of thinking, of discovering, and of learning. Through drawing and painting, through music and movement, through pretend play, and at SIS PREP each one of these Hundred Languages is valued and nurtured.
We do not have classrooms because our Play School in Gurgaon is designed to give a home-like feeling to children. We explore all hundred languages through the day by being in different rooms and outdoors.
We value stories and story books more than workbooks. We believe that children learn from stories and anecdotes and not by pre-set worksheets.
At SIS PREP, every child comes without any bag; all he gets from home is the love of his parents and his innate curiosity.