Emergent Curriculum Essay
Tuesday July 2nd, 2013
The inspiration for the Reggio Emilia approach came from Reggio Emilia, Italy. In Italy, all the preschools are centered on this approach. It is a city run program for children from birth to the age of six (Cyert Center, 2004). The philosophy is that, “children’s interactions and relationships with other children and adults are a vital component of their learning” (Schiller, 1995). Reggio Emilia schools in the United States, Italy, and other countries around the world differ greatly from standard preschools here in the United States. Some of the key differences and components of the Reggio Emilia program is its role in the community, attention to the environment, and its emergent curriculum which functions as a part of the teachers and the children. Role of the Community
The community is a big part of the Reggio Emilia schools. There are regularly scheduled meetings for parents to take part in. These meetings are scheduled in the evening so that working parents are able to attend. The parents and teachers discuss issues regarding school policies, child development concerns, and curriculum planning and evaluations (Wikipedia, 2007). The parents are involved in the whole process of the education of their children. Teachers send home journals of children’s thoughts and ideas expressed in class. This kind of cooperation among teachers and parents make learning on the children’s part much easier and complete.
Attention to the Environment
According to Lilian G. Katz, “The physical environment of a preschool center is considered a ‘teacher’ in and of itself!” (Katz, 1990). This holds true in a Reggio Emilia school. The environment is considered the “third” teacher to the students attending this kind of program. The building itself and classrooms are filled with indoor plants, vines, and lots of natural light. Natural light enters the classrooms through wall-sized windows letting the children connect with the outside world. All of the classrooms have a door to the outside and open to a center piazza. Each classroom flows well with each other and the surrounding community. The lunch rooms, courtyards and bathrooms are designed in a way to encourage community among all the students (Wikipedia, 2007). Incorporated into each school is a common space available to all children in the school that includes dramatic play and work tables (Cyert Center, 2004). Each classroom is connected with a phone, passageway or a window. The classrooms are equipped with art centers called atelier (Gandini, 1993). In the atelier are easels, watercolors, crayons, markers, paper, and any art materials children need to be creative. Another part of the classroom has books about artists and a place where children can read comfortably (Schiller, 1995). Displayed around the classroom, among all the photographs of the children and carefully placed mirrors in the school, are works completed by the children with transcriptions of their discussions about the work. “The physical environment of a preschool center is considered a ‘teacher’ in and of itself!” (Katz, 1990).
| Emergent Curriculum
There is no time schedule where at some part of the day the students are learning about science, then language arts, and then math. The kind of schedule the students follow is that there is a group meeting when the students arrive in the morning. Then there is a work period, play period, lunch time, play time, nap time, and then another work period or play period (Hertzog, 2001). For their work period, there is no set curriculum that the teachers must follow. The curriculum is an emergent curriculum which is child centered. Emergent means that is builds upon the interests of the child. The teachers have broad goals but can follow the lead and interests of the children (Schiller, 1995). During the work periods, a teacher will work with one small group on their project while the other students are engaged...
References: Cyert Center for Early Education. (2004). The Reggio Emilia Approach. Retrieved March 10, 2007, from http://www.cmu.edu/cyert-center/rea.html.
Gandini, Lella (1993, November). Fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. Young Children, 4-8.
Hertzog, Nancy B. (2001). Reflections and Impressions from Reggio Emilia: “Its Not About Art!” Early Childhood Research and Practice, 3 (1). Retrieved March 10, 2007, from http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v3n1/hertzog.html.
Katz, Lillian G (1990, September). Impressions of Reggio Emilia Preschools. Young Children, 11-12.
Schiller, Marjorie (1995). Reggio Emilia: A Focus on Emergent Curriculum and Art. Art Education, 48, 45-50. Retrieved March 10, 2007, from http://liks.jstor.org/sici?sici=0004-3125%28199505%2948%3A3%3C45%3AREAFOE%3E2.0.co%3B2-3.
Wkikipedia. (2007, January). Reggio Emilia Approach. Retrieved March 10, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_Aproach.
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