A year ago I looked into study tours, not thinking I would be able to go anytime soon. Little did I know, I would be going sooner than I thought! I am headed to Italy in a little over 24 hours where I will spend a week absorbing the Italian culture with my mother in Assisi, Siena, and Reggio Emilia. I will then be lucky enough to experience the 2016 International Study Tour.
This is an opportunity I am so lucky to be able to be a part of. As I reach out to other educators who have gone on or are going on the trip, I feel encouraged, excited, and a bit overwhelmed knowing the vast amount of information I am about to take in. I have been encouraged to find a focal point for this trip – and focus on absorbing information on those topics primarily. If only I knew I could come back again!
In Reggio Emilia preschools each child is viewed as infinitely capable, creative, and intelligent. The job of the teacher is to support these qualities and to challenge children in appropriate ways. – Louise Boyd Cadwell
What I Wonder
- What is the overall feel of the child/teacher relationship? What does facilitating actually mean in this context, and how much does this vary from teacher to teacher in the schools?
- How has the schools impacted the larger community – including the other schools in the area? Has their been a change in this impact over the years? Does the community and public schooling support the approach or even the attention brought to the city for this reason?
- How much does my image of Reggio Emilia differ from the reality and why are their differences (if there are)?
- As I move towards an understanding and appreciation of the Unschooling approach – I am curious how Reggio Emilia values align with Unschooling. Do they see value in homeschooling in Italian culture as a whole? It seems as if academic unschooling aligns with Reggio Emilia, but what about radical unschooling, that also “unschools” regular daily life, routines, and structure?
Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn. – Loris Malaguzzi
I have spent the last two years pulling myself back and reminding myself that there is more to this approach than environments, provocations and projects. I want to, more than anything, always remember my children. How will this apply to my community, my school, my classroom, my teaching team, and most of all my children. I want to focus on the why, and not on the what.