At Bennett Day School, we derive many of our core principles from a Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to education. Time, space and natural light are key elements that facilitate learning and exploration in each of our classrooms. You may be wondering, though, why we chose a Reggio Emilia style over other progressive education philosophies. Here’s a breakdown of the pedagogy, and how Bennett Day students interact with it every day.
Originating from Northern Italy, Reggio Emilia is a student-centered teaching philosophy with an innovative approach to early education. The method encourages students to explore their interests to ensure a stronger understanding and desire to learn.
Children are naturally curious, and allowing them to explore their passions makes them better, more passionate learners. Teachers practice Reggio Emilia by listening to and guiding students to communicate and pursue their interests. Students are also encouraged to collaborate and share their interests with other classmates not only to indulge their own curiosities, but spark ideas in others.
The instructor’s role in Reggio Emilia is not only to teach, but to observe and listen to students. By learning students’ interests, teachers can provide guidance and opportunities to explore those subjects. Projects are not pre-planned by teachers, but driven by student ideas as topics of interest arise.
The learning environment, including the classroom and common areas, plays a key role in a Reggio Emilia-inspired education model. The space should be filled with natural light and built as an open concept free of clutter to make room for imagination. This environment encourages students to collaborate, communicate and fosters exploration.
Reggio Emilia places an emphasis on documenting students’ thoughts. When teachers observe their students, they learn each of their learning styles, abilities and interests. Documentation can take form in photography, videos, transcripting conversations, drawing or other visual mediums. Gathering and comprehending this documentation helps teachers develop students as individuals.
Progressive education approaches increase overall student success by preparing them for today’s modern day workforce. With Reggio Emilia implemented in education, students can become stronger communicators and more critical thinkers. Bennett Day School adopts many principles of Reggio Emilia to promote collaboration and communication in and outside of the classroom for an individualized, progressive education.