So many times I see someone asking for help “adding Reggio” to their curriculum. When asking for more information, they will elaborate that they like the natural materials and creative aspects of Reggio Emilia.
And it gets me every time.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are Reggio Emilia Inspired you most likely do use natural materials and creativity is encouraged.
But that is NOT what a Reggio Emilia Inspired program is.
Reggio Emilia is not art.
Reggio Emilia is not loose parts.
Reggio Emilia is not pretty provocations.
Reggio Emilia is not clay, paints, easels, and water color.
Reggio Emilia is not tree blocks, loose parts, and building platforms.
Reggio Emilia is not something pretty you can replicate.
Reggio Emilia is a city. A city where educators and families are doing amazing things. Why?
Because of their intentional approach that they have collaboratively, and continuously refine, created for the children and families in their community. Being Reggio Emilia inspired is not to use art and nature in the classroom.
Being Reggio Emilia inspired is being able to see children as fully capable human being who deserve our trust and respect.
Being Reggio Emilia inspired is observing and documenting children’s thinking and interests in order to facilitate their learning.
Being Reggio Emilia inspired is to start each year over, with a new class, with new students, with a blank slate. Because everything you do is centered around your children and their personal interests and needs and inspirations – not pictures of pretty provocations you see on Pinterest.
Being Reggio Emilia inspired means understanding that children speak and express themselves in many ways, and giving them many outlets to do so (including painting, drawing, building, creating, moving, singing, dancing, and many, many more.)
Being Reggio Emilia inspired means you follow, listen, and respect the children.
So no, there is no quick way to “Do Reggio”. There is no materials list, provocation planner, or art project that will allow you to mimic or replicate the amazing workings of education in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
It all starts with you and your children.
Watch, observe, facilitate, reflect.
That is where you start.