The Reggio Emilia approach focuses on a child’s natural development. It’s child-centered and directed, taking the philosophy that learning must make sense to the student in order to be effective and meaningful. A child’s point of view is completely respected and the student is encouraged to follow their own educational path.
The method follow four key principles: The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles: children must have some say over what they learn; the senses play a big role in the learning process — children must be able to touch, move, listen, see and hear in order to fully process something; children are encouraged to interact with other children and explore the world through material items and relationships; children should be encouraged to always express themselves and be given infinite means and opportunities to do so.
Parental involvement is invited and encouraged. Many parents volunteer in the classroom and employ many of the methods found in the classroom at home. A variety of materials are used — clay, paint, dramatic play among others. The approach was founded in the villages around Reggio Emilia, Italy after World War II. Parents were looking for a way to teach their children and found that the early years of development were the best time to help children figure out who they are as individuals.
What is Documentation? Among many other possibilities, documentation is visible listening. The term documentation conjures up different meanings for different people. To our minds, one of the primary features of documentation as practiced in Reggio Emilia is a focus on how and what children learn. This focus is reminiscent of careful listening; thus, documentation, in many ways, is visible listening.
Some of the elements of documentation include: conducting careful observations eveloping questions and tentative answers about how and what children are learning collecting evidence of individual and group learning interpreting observations and evidence in relation to your question(s) inviting others’ interpretations using the information to guide future teaching starting all over again Documentation can take many forms–observation notes, partial transcripts, audiotapes, a list of students’ responses to a prompt, photographs or videos of individual and group learning, and adult or student analyses of or reflections on student work.