"Ensuring that every child feels a sense of security and belonging within the school enables each child to accept and participate actively in transforming situations that are part of learning experiences." -Loris Malaguzzi
In 1991 Newsweek placed the primary schools from a small town in Italy, Reggio Emilia, among the top schools in the world. Since then, the Reggio Emilia approach to education has gained international acclaim and recognition.
After World War II, a group of parents and a young teacher by the name of Loris Malaguzzi, came together to rebuild their community starting with a school. Working together, they decided that education was the foundation of a great society. Over the years, the schools in Reggio Emilia have flourished and are continually evolving to best meet the needs of their students, as well as their community as a whole. Reggio Emilia schools are specific to the community of Reggio Emilia, but international schools can be “Reggio Inspired." This means that they adapt the core principles of the Reggio philosophy to their own communities. At Kuwait Reggio Center, we have taken what we believe to be the best practices of the Reggio Emilia approach and adapted them to fit the needs of students and their families in Kuwait.
Important concepts of the Reggio Emilia approach include:
Children are capable and have rights:
Children are not empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge by a teacher. Instead they are able to construct their own knowledge and bring their own experiences to the learning process.
Children form an understanding of themselves and the world around them both on their own as well as through interactions with their peers and elders.
The adult is a mentor and partner in learning:
The adult’s job is to listen to and observe the child. It is important first to discover what interests the child and then facilitate ways to expand learning based on these interests.
Teachers are not just babysitters, nor are they dictators who lecture children. Instead they act as educated researchers who are valued for their role. They set up the environment to make it a place of learning and they are constantly testing and advancing their knowledge.
Children and teachers learn together as they explore different topics and create new projects. Projects are initiated by student interest, however teachers guide them so that they meet educational standards and learning objectives (you can download a complete list of standards at the bottom of this page).
Environment as the third teacher:
The learning space is set up to be inviting and spark a student’s interest and natural curiosity. The environment should be constructed in such a way that social interaction is encouraged, students are safe to explore freely, and there is an abundance of materials neatly displayed at their level so that they can work with a multitude of media.
Documentation is a powerful tool:
Student work, thoughts and ideas are documented in several different ways. The Reggio approach puts an emphasis on recording what children say as well as photographing and video taping their creations in order to show the learning process.
Student work is displayed around the school so that they may revisit it later on and remember what they learned. They can also share it with friends and family.
Emergent, constructivist curriculum:
Curriculum changes depending on student interest. After teachers have taken the time to carefully observe students and their passions, they work with a large support team, including a dedicated curriculum developer, to create the best curriculum for their needs. This ensures that children will be engaged during the learning process.
In Reggio Emilia, children learn by doing. Students participate in projects in order to test their theories and expand their knowledge. This allows them to be active members in the learning process. Projects can last from one day to several months depending on student interest and the nature of the project.
The hundred languages of children:
Children will express themselves in many different ways. In a traditional school setting, students are expected to share their knowledge through one or two types of media. This stifles their creativity and boxes in the child. In Reggio Emilia, there is never just one way for a child to show what they know.
Broadening what is offered to children allows them to find more access or points of entry to learning.
Students can express themselves through dance, music, language, writing, drawing, sculpting, imaginative play, modeling, and so on.
About Kuwait Reggio Center's Standards
Reggio-Emilia provides a philosophy of how children learn and how to organise the school environment to support each child's learning process. This philosophy can be adapted to any set of standards. To hold KRC students to the highest international standard, teachers use the Early Childhood Program Standards developed by the Massachusetts’ Department of Education to assess student progress. U.S. News & World Reports consistently ranks Massachusetts’ public school system among the top 5 public school systems in the U.S. Below you can download our standards' matrix.