A Child Centered Classroom Environment
One of the key characteristics of Reggio Emilia-inspired schools is the positioning of the environment as a significant component to learning. In fact, the environment is oftentimes referred to as the “third teacher”. The look and feel of the classrooms and common spaces within the school are critical to achieving the center’s goals for learning. From the way in which student’s projects are displayed to the use of diverse and natural furnishings, Reggio-inspired programs put a great deal of emphasis on the environment as a whole.
A Reggio Emilia Classroom
For those unfamiliar with the Reggio-inspired approach, a child centered environment may sound like a free-for-all, but it’s actually quite the contrary. The term child centered is used to describe the environment because it’s organized in a way that naturally encourages students to explore. Each student plays and does projects that interest them, as opposed to the same work being assigned to everyone. A child’s projects and work are displayed not only once they are complete, but while they are in progress. This method gives students the opportunity to reflect and creatively contemplate the next steps. This is an important concept for children, and a very essential one that stays with them through life.
Here are some highlights of our Reggio-inspired learning environment:
- Objects and furnishings are wisely selected to foster a child’s expanding curiosity. You won’t see battery powered cars or light up toys in our schools. The Reggio-inspired program incorporates natural, every day, real-life materials as much as possible.
- Longer-term projects are encouraged because they give the student a chance to accomplish work in stages. This prompts them to reflect on what is finished and dream about what comes next. It also helps to show children’s thinking as it happens rather than after the fact
- Documentation panels and other displays of student work serve as points of reflection for the student. They are also an outlet for parent communication. Daily snapshots, regularly updated “Go Home” journals and long-term portfolios are all documented ways of communicating with parents.