This is the fourth post in a series of posts on the fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia approach to childcare. This series is based on a post of ours from a while back located here where we discussed these fundamentals as outlined by the website aneverydaystory. In this series we have expanded on the original concepts and added our own take to the fundamentals of Reggio Emilia.
The Environment is the Third Teacher
The natural environment serves a great purpose in children’s development of other skills and understanding of how the world works
This item is one of the main pillars of the Reggio Emilia Approach. The natural environment provides a wealth of incredibly relevant educational tools. If children’s learning can take place in the real world, the benefits are much greater. Although the natural environment is an important factor in early childhood education, so is the physical environment created by educators. A good environment according to the Reggio Emilia Approach carefully uses colour and space to create an open learning environment. Children’s work should be displayed in this space, and toys, books, provocation tables, and supplies should be available to children so that they can direct their learning through play. A well organized room also provides a sense of stability, predictability and safety that helps facilitate engagement. Lastly, the environment should be understand in a social/emotional context. It is important for educators to create a social climate which is safe, welcoming and supportive so that children are enthusiastic about their education, collaborating with their peers, and trusting their teachers.
An Emphasis on Documenting Children’s Experiences
At Parkland, we do this by taking photos of the various activities children engage in here
Documentation is central for reinforcing children’s accomplishments and building their confidence as capable learners. Documentation can take a number of forms including displaying work on the walls of a classroom, taking photos during activities, and even sending this photos to parents so that they are able to discuss their education and extend it at home with their families. Documentation can be used as a bridge between teachers and parents to help build a community that supports the education of children and opens up dialogue between educators, students, and parents/caregivers.