Reggio Emilia, Sweden and Te Whariki
Reggio Emilia is a place in Italy. After the war the local women decided to use the rubble of old houses destroyed during the war and build schools for their young people. Loris Malaguzzi was the first creative director and believed that children were competent, creative learners from birth.
This type of schooling in Reggio Emilia started in 1945 but hasn’t been recognised worldwide until recently.
Reggio Emilia is in the northern regions of Italy. They have an approach which is based on creative thinking, exploration and discovery, free play, following what the children are interested in, valuing and encouraging all the ways that children express themselves, asking children to talk about their ideas and asking children to re-visit their ideas. The schools in Reggio Emilia are not following the government’s curriculum; this allows the children to express themselves rather than just sitting down at a table and doing things which they are meant to be learning. They will learn a variety of skills by not following a curriculum. The children will be interested in what they do everyday as it won’t just be sitting in a classroom day after day but the activities will differ everyday.
The work in Reggio Emilia in presented in a gallery to show people the type of creative work that the children do when they are learning. In Reggio the children aren’t observed but lots of pictures are taken as evidence to show the parents about what their children are learning. This is documentation.
In Reggio Emilia they believe that the environment plays a bit part in the children’s learning. They believe that the environment is ‘the third teacher’, they also believe in the importance of discovery and stimulating environments both inside and outside.
The work in Reggio influences the work that we do in the UK as adults now let children to do some activities based on their environments or their interests rather than always being doing adult initiated activities. Some schools in the UK are now letting the parents have some input in what their children are learning. Reggio Emilia consists of a lot of community nurseries.
Reggio Emilia allows children to express themselves and do all their learning through play, they don’t make a child sit down at a table and write words but will take the children to a park or just let them work in the school and because the children are choosing most of the activities they are doing they will be interested in it and will probably put more effort in and will concentrate more.
In Sweden there is no government control over what the teachers have to do and how they have to do it, but instead there is a guide that tells the teachers what the children should be learning but leaves it up to the teachers about how they teach it.
They allow children to be children and learn through play. The children in Sweden do not go into formal education until the age of 7. They are not required to write their name or read a book until that age. People in Sweden believe this means that the children will be willing to learn as they have never done any formal learning in a school until that age.
The day at school is very long and is from 6am – 6pm. The schools are very heavily subsidised but the parents are required to pay a small amount. It usually means that the parents pay £7.50 a day for their child to go to school.
They believe that the schools and pre schools should be like home, they do not allow the children to have any sweets or any unhealthy things, Instead the children are given home made bread, cheese and porridge for breakfast.
They also believe that children should develop their social skills and not their book reading scores. Half of the day is spent outside, even if it is raining or snowing they will still stay outside, the babies stay outside whilst sleeping and they only bring the children in if it is -10 Degrees Celsius!!
Before the age of seven children are asked to lay the tables. Once they start to learn they have a literacy hour in which they look at key cards and identify what is on it, they also sit on adult table and chairs whilst doing this to ensure that they feel grown up.
The schools in Sweden are not inspected by anyone, they are left to their own devices, the teachers do not do observations on the child they just take photos as evidence for the parents.
They are very laid back and believe that children should be children until the age of seven, if they start to learn late they will not lose focus early. They will want to continue learning as they have never done it before; this will want to get their teeth into something and therefore will work harder and work for longer.
In New Zealand the Maori people and the Pakeha have worked together to make a major contribution to the early childhood curriculum (birth to 6 years). The Te Whariki curriculum framework is based upon four principles:
• Empowerment- Whakamana • Holistic Development – Kotahitanga • Family and Community- Whanau Tangata • Relationships- Nga Hononga
|The 5 Strands |Native Name |Goals |
| | |Health is promoted children are kept from |
|Well Being |Mana Atua |harm, emotional well being is nurtured. |
| | |Connecting links with the family, making |
| | |sure the children feel like they belong. |
|Belonging |Mana Whenua |They know limits and boundaries of |
| | |acceptable behaviour. |
| | |There are the same opportunities |
| | |irrespective of gender, ability, age, |
|Contribution |Mana Tangat |ethnicity or background. Children are |
| | |encouraged to learn alongside others. |
| | |They develop both verbal and non-verbal |
| | |communication for a range of purposes. They|
|Communication |Mana Reo |discover and develop different ways to be |
| | |creative and expressive. |
| | |Children’s play is valued and meaningful |
| | |learning, importance of spontaneous play is|
| | |recognised. They develop working theories |
|Exploration |Mana Aoturoa |for making sense of the natural, social, |
| | |physical and material worlds. |
The Centres Of Innovation, an initiative led by Anne Meade, further building on the good practice emerging from Te Whariki: • Through encouraging action research in settings which are innovating practice. • Supporting them in sharing their practice, knowledge and understanding
(Bruce and Meggitt, 2007, page 399)