"The municipal early childhood programs of Reggio Emilia, Italy, have created an educational reality that many other educators strive to achieve. A 1991 Newsweek article identified the programs in Reggio Emilia as the best early childhood programs in the world" (J. Wurm; Working in the Reggio Way (2005)
In learning about Reggio inspired programs I found a love for the community feeling and group participation that lends itself to the philosophy. Reggio Inspred programs focus on the vision of the child, space and environment, the organization of time, Progettazione (planning), observation and documentation and families.
As I work in my preschool program I try to keep all of these things in mind when I design activities. One such activity developed recently while we were on a walk. Together we found an interesting branch on the ground. We talked about it and decided to bring it back to the centre as a group and create something with it. It was decided we would paint it outdoors.
The children were excited to create their nature art and chatted together as to what we should do with it when it dried.
No instructions were given and the children could come and go from this activity as much as they wanted over a long period of time.
The children's nature art. It is beautiful and full the vision of the children.
Once it was dry we decided to extend the project by hanging the branch in our room and then having the opportunity for the children to continue to work on the project by adding hanging things on the branch over time.
What makes this a Reggio Inspired activity is that the children were seen as capable and given the opportunity to influence the planning and the outcome of the activity. They were also give a long time frame to participate and come and go as they wished allowing each to child to participate in a way that fully supported their needs.
"In Reggio the child is viewed as strong, powerful, rich in potential, driven by the power or wanting to grow and nurtured by adults who take this drive towards growth seriously." (J. Wurm, Working in the Reggio Way. (2015))