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Child Development Center

Using The Reggio Emilia Approach to Learning

The Reggio Emilia curriculum was developed in 1960s Italy, creating an educational system that has been identified as one of the best early childhood programs in the world. It’s no surprise that this community-oriented method built to foster a lifelong love of learning has since spread throughout the world.

In Reggio, the child is viewed as strong, rich in potential, driven by the power of wanting to grow, and nurtured by adults. The Reggio vision of the child as a competent learner has produced a strong child-directed curriculum model, where children are encouraged to learn about themselves and the world around them through investigation and discovery.

The Reggio Approach has a strong belief that children learn through interactions with others in a friendly learning environment. The teacher acts as a researcher- always thinking about the children and about their own educational practice. Reggio educators speak of their evolving "experience" and see themselves as a provocation and reference point for learning.

Key features of Reggio Emilia's early childhood program include:

∙ Rich learning environments filled with authentic experiences and open-ended materials.

∙ Documentation is used as an authentic assessment and advocacy of children’s learning.

∙ Curriculum is not predetermined; it is flexible so that the curriculum follows the child’s lead.

∙ Teachers, parents, and the school community work together to create a shared experience around children’s learning.

Lesson plans are based on observing the children and their interests. It represents a deep respect for children as capable, intelligent and with an extraordinary inner drive to explore and discover. We use materials that are beautiful or interesting to look at and touch, allowing the child to hold, move, and explore. It is meant to ignite curiosity and learning.

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Language Arts and Math

Our language-rich environment nurtures students to connect written word to meaning. Children begin to develop critical skills to interpret both the function and the purpose of fiction and informational texts.

Ongoing documentation and assessment of progress allows teacher to frequently create and update plans that integrate literacy.

In our classrooms, you will not see children sitting on their bottoms memorizing letters and numbers. Instead, you will see children forming letters and numbers with modeling clay, sticks, yarn, or other natural materials. They may be inspired to write stories, create signs, snail mail a friend, write a recipe, or craft a poem.

Planned activities and spontaneous classroom experiences introduce mathematical concepts like quantifying, measuring, navigating, comparing, orienting and weighing. Children design pretend cities, learning about calculating dimensions and beginning to understand scale and size relation.

Ou classrooms have acorns the children collected from the playground and divided evenly amongst the class, and measuring cups in the water table for exploring the concept of volume.

The Reggio Emilia curriculum ensures students will grow in knowledge and confidence, building a foundation for a lifetime of joyful learning.

Benefits of Playing in Nature

Mud, sand, water, leaves, sticks, pine cones and gum nuts can help stimulate immune systems and imaginations. Our children play outside and experience these and other benefits of nature twice a day.

Children who regularly play in natural settings are sick less often, more resistant to stress and less likely to show bullying behavior. They have a lower incidence of behavioral disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder, anxiety and depression. They play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways while showing improved language and collaboration skills.

Repetitive play equipment quickly becomes boring to a growing imagination. But natural, irregular spaces help children learn to recognize, assess and negotiate risk while building confidence.

Excellence Academy

Neighborhood House’s Child Development Center is proud to be part of Metro United Way’s Excellence Academy. Established in 2011, the program provides mentorship and professional development to our teachers. The success of the Academy is apparent in our results, showing that more children are entering Kindergarten with the skills they need to be successful in the classroom.

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