The Reggio Emilia approach does not simply ask us to change our environments and the learning spaces; it requires us to change the way we think about children and how they learn. While we have only just begun to scratch the surface of our own journey into this new approach to education, the evidence for the importance of this work can be seen throughout the day at our preschool, in our children.
Our teachers reflect on the little changes we see in the children – little changes that carry great importance! Regular visitors comment that there is a change in the atmosphere, that the children have become so much more calm and quiet; yes, because the children are being seen and heard, and valued as individuals with rights. In the absence of teacher-directed activities and weekly themes chosen by an adult, the children have the chance to explore and follow their own curiosity – and we are seeing a lot of curiosity! And by insisting that the school belongs to the children and making sure that the spaces reflect them, we see in the children an understanding that they belong here. These little things have made a big difference already.