Supporting early childhood professionals worldwide in
their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.
By Lella GandiniGo to page: 1 2 3 4 5 6
The convictions about creativity held by the educators in Reggio Emilia are connected to the basic principles that form their educational approach. Many of these principles are the same ones that inspire educators in the United States. So it is interesting to examine the direct application of these principles to 30 years of development in a city-wide early childhood system. How could one hope to find a wider- and longer-standing successful experiment?
Following are some of the principles and elements of organization that inform the work of the Reggio Emilia educators. I will point out how these principles support creativity and offer suggestions about applying them in other situations.
Integrating Creativity and Learning
Reggio educators believe children have preparedness, potential, curiosity, and interest in constructing their learning, in engaging in social interaction, and in negotiating with everything the environment brings to them. Creativity is seen not as an exceptional occurrence or a separate mental faculty, but as a characteristic way of thinking, knowing, and making choices.
By observing what children do, we can find the seeds of creative exploration that need to be nurtured. And by listening to children talk to one another, we can detect in their words the beginning thoughts that can lead, with support, to novel constructions.
Ensuring a Community of Well-Being
In order for childrento learn, Reggio educators believe their well-being has to be guaranteed. Such well-being is connected to the well-being of parents and of teachers and to the relationships between and among all three groups: children, parents, and teachers. Relationships form the base for the exchange of ideas and support cognitive experiences, including unconventional exploration. In fact, creativity seems to express itself through a combination of cognitive, effective, and imaginative processes that can lead to unexpected solutions.
The participation of parents takes many forms: day-to-day interaction; work in the school; discussions of educational and psychological issues; and special events, excursions, and celebrations. The spirit of cooperation pervades all levels of relationships throughout the system. It is understood that expectations of teachers, schools, families, and the community - and the ways children perceive those expectations - can influence their disposition toward creativity.
Special activities, more intensely at the beginning, but throughout the school year, can be worked into normal planning to help establish and maintain relationships with each child, among children, with parents, and among colleagues, as well as to make the community aware about the life of its young children. Such activities will make daily work more meaningful and rewarding.
Creating a Supportive Environment
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