The first few years of a child’s education are crucial because they mark the beginning of a lifelong journey. While most of the teaching is done by preschool teachers in the kindergarten, the time spent at home is valuable. In preschool age, the child spends more time at home than at school. Thus, the coordination between the environment at school and at home facilitates the learning process of children to a great extent.
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This also applies to the Reggio Emilia approach, as it helps children learn through inquiry. In this article we will talk about how you can make your home Reggio friendly to help your child on their educational journey.
Reggio Emilia Curriculum
Before we go any further, let’s take a quick look at the Reggio Emilia approach. It is an innovative approach to preschool education that was developed after the Second World War in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia and is based on the principle that children learn in different ways. It is a learner-centered learning process that takes into account the fact that children can control their own learning and learn through a multi-sensory approach – touching, seeing, listening, hearing, moving and more. Teachers and parents work as facilitators and mentors and guide children on their educational journey.
Click here to learn more about the Reggio Emilia approach.
In the Reggio Emilia approach, the environment is identified as the “third teacher”, and therefore the atmosphere in which the child grows up plays an important role. Thus, the environment in which a child grows up can be adjusted to ensure that the child learns best through this play-based philosophy. Children’s surroundings can be filled with beautifully crafted innovative toys made from natural materials that will build children’s love of beauty and aesthetics.
Open-ended materials enhance children’s creativity and expression by removing all restrictions on exploration and experimentation. These resources stimulate children’s curiosity and creativity.
Keep objects such as wooden toys, pine cones, plants, pebbles, wooden blocks, sticks, bark, leaves that allow the child to explore the natural environment. This will help children align everything they have learned at school with what they have learned at home, acting as positive reinforcement. Other examples of open-ended materials include fabrics, ceramic tiles, pieces of mosaic glass, and more.
Seamless learning between school and home
Reggio Emilia harps on the freedom of learning, so create a flexible schedule at home that includes plenty of family time and plenty of play time. Try to take time out of your busy schedule to play with your child. Encourage your child to ask questions to facilitate learning. In the Reggio Emilia approach, children are encouraged to ask as many questions as possible about a topic until they are bored. This goes far beyond school and extends into the home. Listen to the questions your kids ask or watch them play. This will lead to simple conversations that will pave the way for some of the best lessons you can teach your child. However, the key to managing this is to follow your child’s lead rather than taking the lead yourself. Find a topic that interests your child and have fun around it. Often parents find an activity or book that interests them and try to get their child involved in it. However, this is not the Reggio Emilia principle, because what interests you may not interest your child.
Another important aspect of the Reggio Emilia approach is to see the child as a capable being. A major part of this is taking responsibility. Assign children small tasks related to the environment around them and taking care of them, such as brushing their teeth independently, bathing independently, taking care of pets, gardening, setting the dining table for dinner, etc. to help them imbibe life skills and also make them, to feel included in the family and community as a whole.
It is very easy to have a Reggio-friendly home – and quite cheap too. All you have to do is go back to the basics and surround your child with natural materials. You will see the difference in your child’s progress when you incorporate such subjects at home.
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