Reggio Emilia Approach

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The Reggio Emilia Approach, a constructivist approach, is related to constructivist theorists such as Piaget and Vygotsky. Piaget and Vygotsky offer theories on ways children think cognitively in a developmental manner. Piaget believes that a child is competent, when a child learns new things it just enhances their skills further. Vygotsky also believes that a child is competent, yet when they are educated it helps them in the process of the ZPD, zone of proximal development.

According to Piaget, children who are in the preoperational thought stage want to learn a lot. They are continuously asking questions and trying to get answers. They move from an elementary thought process to a more sophisticated way of expressing their thoughts and ideas. At times they use symbols to further express their ideas. Reggio Emilia theorist believe that children have many different ways of expressing their knowledge of the world around them. Piaget’s stage of preoperational thought including intuitive thought and symbolic function relates to the Reggio Emilia approach to symbolic representation.

 Vygotsky believes that the ZPD assists children develop cognitively through their social interactions with educators. Reggio also supports the idea that education based on the role of parents, teachers and the environment. Vygotsky's ZPD helps advance children's cognitive development through social interaction with skilled educators embedded in a socio-cultural backdrop (Santrock, 2000). This supports the Reggio Emilia key principles of education that is based on collaboration, image of the child, role of the parents, role of the environment and the project approach. Reggio Emilia also suggests teachers and educators to use scaffolding. This allows the child to initiate what they want to do and gives educators the option to offer limited assistance. This allows children to move to a higher level of knowledge.

Reggio Emilia’s approach to children with special needs suggests...
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