Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Yesterday the server was down but my day started early with a breakfast meeting with a group of our headteachers from the Gipton and Richmond Hill families of Schools. We talked about the developing new world of Children's Services and the challenges they faced as headteachers and as schools serving these communities. We talked about the challenges these families face and the impact on their children. We talked about young parents, poverty, deprivation, health inequalities... we talked about regeneration, hope, parent support, healthy schools and brilliant teaching and learning. We talked about what we had learned about the challenges and the solutions and the way these issues are approached in Reggio Emilia.

The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education is a city-run and sponsored system designed for all children from birth through to six years of age. The approach can be viewed as a resource and inspiration to help educators, parents, and children as they work together to further develop their own educational programs. The approach is based upon the following principles:

  • A curriculum that builds on the interests of children.
  • Projects are in-depth studies of concepts, ideas, and interests which arise within the group.
  • The Reggio Emilia approach uses the arts as tools for cognitive, linguistic, and social development.
  • The teacher's role is first and foremost to be that of a learner alongside the children.
  • Documentation and display of children's work in progress is an important tool in the learning process for children, teachers, and parents.
  • Within the Reggio Emilia schools the classroom is considered the "third teacher."

We must continue to look at ways we can improve and develop our practice. Look carefully at what we can learn from brilliantly successful schools in the Gipton and Richmond Hill areas. Look carefully at what we can learn from innovative and creative projects like Reggio Emilia... and continue to do our best to release the magic.


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