Twice a year the town and municipal schools of Reggio Emilia welcome educators from around the globe to see their unique approach to early childhood education. As someone who has devoted my adult life to early childhood education and has spent the last 2 years immersed in research on the Reggio approach, finally arriving in the town where it all began is an awesome experience. It feels much like a pilgrimage (complete with a grueling journey) where like-minded people who believe in the power of this place come together to be inspired, share ideas, and try to take back a piece of the ‘magic’ to their communities.
The first day was an introduction to the core values espoused by the educators of Reggio. I will not go into specifics because you can read all about the Kuwait Reggio Center’s interpretation of these values on our website. I must say though that I was struck by how poetically the presenters described their pedagogy. They gave weight and gravity to a profession that many consider ‘babysitting’. They gave respect and dignity to the thoughts and lives of children at an age when many think they need only be wiped clean and kept out of trouble.
It was validating to be spoken to as a professional, a scientist, a researcher, an explorer, an artist, and above all someone who is responsible for shaping the values that make up the foundation of our culture and community. I felt what the children in Reggio feel. We are important and we are powerful.