This post is part of a mini-series based around the Reggio approach, the first instalment will be an overview of the approach and will explain how you can implement elements of Reggio into your own setting.
The next post in the series will look at how you can add further exploration to everyday activities and finally the series will look at a Reggio activity with a focus on how it meets the early learning goals.
What is the Reggio Approach?
The Reggio Approach originates from Reggio Emilia, a town in Northern Italy. Loris Malaguzzi is the founder of the Reggio approach and dedicated his whole life to his philosophy.
The approach is extremely child focused, Reggio teachers have a strong image of the child and Loris Malaguzzi believed that children are, ‘rich in potential, strong, powerful, competent and most of all connected to adults and children’. The approach sees children as having unlimited potential and talks about the 100 languages a child has, which refers to the many ways children express themselves, through art, music, storytelling and many more mediums.
The Reggio Approach focuses largely on expressive art and design as it allows children to revisit an interest in many different forms through drawing, painting, puppetry, music, construction, etc. Reggio centres will employ an atelierista (professional artist) to help the children express their many voices and they will have an atelier (art studio) that the children use. The Reggio Approach focuses on the process during projects rather than the outcome and children are encouraged to use their own ideas and experiment with different materials and resources.
Setting up mini ateliers
In my own setting I have been inspired by the Reggio approach and have set up mini art areas which allow the children to explore materials freely. One of the popular set ups includes a paint mixing station in which the children have been given the opportunity to explore how powder paints work. They have learnt through their own experiences that different amounts of water and powder make different consistencies as well as how mixing the colours together creates new colours. This led to lots of discussion about colours and quantities which was completely child led.
Another popular station is play dough making, again the children freely mix ingredients together to make their required consistency, as they do so they explore textures and how the made play dough can then be manipulated in many different ways. You can make a simple play dough by mixing together flour, cold water and oil which requires no heating or hot water.
It is important that within these areas the children can freely explore, as an adult we understand that by adding too much water our play dough will become too sloppy or our paint will lack colour but we must resist the urge to think about the end product and instead focus on the process.
Look out for the next Reggio inspired post which focuses on implementing elements of Reggio into everyday activities.
This post was written by Laura England of Little Miss Early Years
Laura is the lead practitioner at Blythe Bridge Day Nursery, she is currently a trainee early years’ teacher and has a monthly column in Teach Early Years Magazine. She is interested in everything early years but is passionate about teaching through the children’s interests, setting up enabling environments and the adults role during play.