What is Reggio?

I spotted this article in ECRP by Carol Anne Wien York University with Victoria Guyevskey & Noula Berdoussis and thought it summed up the ‘Reggio’ approach nicely. Obviously, you could take this further, but for a starting point, this is nice and concise! We have plenty of centers here in New Zealand who describe themselves as ‘Reggio-inspired’ (usually for marketing purposes – in fact, the majority of ECE in NZ is now ‘Reggio-inspired’). However, there is sometimes a gap between the practice of documenting and the actual understanding of the Reggio approach to documentation …

The Reggio Approach

The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education was  developed in the municipal system of 46 infant-toddler centers and preschools  for children birth to age 6 in the city of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy. The  approach has attracted worldwide attention for its rich and vibrant image of  children, teachers, and families in relation to society (Cadwell, 1997, 2003;  Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 1998; Fleet, Patterson, & Robertson, 2006).

The Reggio educators’ conception of documentation as  combining many forms of texts to make learning visible is highly respected and  considered a major contribution to the early childhood field (Burrington &  Sortino, 2004; Giudici, Rinaldi, & Krechevsky, 2001; Katz & Chard,  1996; Malaguzzi, 1996); it appeals to students of the Reggio approach and can  be grasped intellectually. Yet, in our experience, when teachers outside of  Reggio attempt such documentation in their own classrooms, they find it much  more challenging than they had expected, which suggests how radically different  the Reggio notions of documentation are from those often found in schools and  child care settings in North America.

To use the term Reggio-inspired regarding early childhood  programs is to recognize that one does not “implement” or use the approach as a  “model to copy” (a modernist position that reflects an inaccurate view of  reality). Rather, educators outside of Reggio explore and re-interpret—for their  own contexts and through their own understandings—a number of processes for  which Reggio offers useful reference points.” (np)

They continue:

“Documentation as  Teacher Research

Reggio educators use the term “documentation”; in the North  American context, it is helpful to distinguish documentation concerned with  teacher research from the myriad other forms of documentation in our society—from  cash register receipts to family snapshots, from legal documents to the results  of standardized testing. Educators in several English-language-dominant  countries are experimenting with such documentation and with terms to  adequately describe it, such as “learning story” in New Zealand and  “pedagogical narration” in British Columbia in Canada (Berger, 2008). Both  “learning story” and “pedagogical narration” imply a storyline or plot in a  learning process, countering the notion of learning as a transmission to the learner  for testing. In this article, the term pedagogical documentation, introduced by  Dahlberg, Moss, and Pence (1999), is used in order to differentiate a form of  documentation that attempts to “make learning visible.” The term keeps intact  the notion of the educator’s study of  learning in order to figure out how to teach. Pedagogical documentation is  treated here simultaneously as teacher research into children’s thoughts and  feelings and as a design process for invention of curriculum in a specific context.” (np)

I won’t quote the whole article – you can read it online where it was published…

Ref: Carol Anne Wien York University with Victoria Guyevskey & Noula Berdoussis (2011) Learning to Document in Reggio-inspired Education in ECRP (Early Childhood Research & Practice) 13(2) online journal

Note; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach

http://www.reggiokids.com/about/about_approach.php

http://www.reanz.org/

http://www.reggioemilia.org.nz/

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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