"The child is rich in potential, strong, powerful, competent and most of all connected to other adults and children.”
- Loris Malaguzzi
The Value of the Environment as Third Teacher
Given our commitment to the optimal conditions for development, it is no wonder that CNS is grateful to be inspired by the schools and educators in Reggio-Emilia, the home of world renowned educational centers in which communities of learners work together to create a curriculum that reflects the children’s capacity -- and pushes them to go beyond their initial understanding. The popularity of the Reggio Emilia inspiration is rooted in its connection to the science of brain development and reflection of how children best learn. The tenets of Reggio Emilia include providing children with sophisticated playful learning tools and experiences then observing and recording them as they learn so that teachers can develop emergent curriculum specific to each unique child. This curriculum and documentation encourages children to become more deeply involved in study and fosters teachers to better match instruction to the great potential of children.
Reggio Emilia schools offer an emergent project-based curriculum that builds on children’s interests and skills. For example, in a Reggio-Emilia inspired school, you might see groups of young children studying bridges, local birds, waterways, construction sites or city sculptures depending on which aspects of their world inspire their curiosity. CNS also draws from other best-practice approaches including Montessori, Waldorf, Piaget, Vygotsky, Paley and others that recognize the profound potential of young children and support constructivist learning.
In a Reggio-Emilia classroom, the adults carefully observe and reflect on the students to create and adjust the curriculum. Teachers continually monitor the children’s activities, documenting their learning through photographs, videos, journals, interviews and portfolios. As children are observed, listened to and recorded, they are encouraged to take their learning seriously, pursue questions with research, experiment and take on new challenges for improved understanding.