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5 Ways to Incorporate the Reggio Emilia Approach at Home

01 Jun 5 Ways to Incorporate the Reggio Emilia Approach at Home

Amber Lowe, a former Kindergarten teacher at Advent and current Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Advent led a virtual presentation on how families can incorporate the Reggio Emilia approach at home. Amber is also the president of BARIN, the Boston Area Reggio Inspired Network, that works to connect Reggio-inspired schools in and around the Boston area. She started her presentation by reminding parents and caregivers that whatever they’re accomplishing at home is enough. The following ideas are simply suggestions and some may work great for your family ,and some may not be as good a fit. Remember, you know your child and family best.

The Advent School playground
photo by Christopher Huang

1. Listen

The Reggio approach is a pedagogy of relationships and listening.  It’s important to document what your children are saying and doing in order to create meaning.  This will help you better understand children’s relations to each other and the environment.  We use this idea in the classroom to build a curriculum and at home you can decipher behavior in similar ways. Ask yourself these questions: How is your child feeling at the start of the day? When does your child demonstrate frustration? What is this behavior really about?  What questions do they have? 

2. Create an Intentional Environment

Children are constantly learning – no matter what environment they are in. This gives us the opportunity to intentionally create spaces that are conducive to learning new skills. Keep the environment new, interesting, and engaging by putting away certain toys at times or rearranging every day to make a new space. Work to create an environment that has opportunities for engagement and promotes curiosity, but also has space for children to relax and feel calm. How do you feel in your space? Can you move your whole body?  It can also be helpful to recreate some of the aspects your child loves at school. This consistency helps to maintain the daily schedule.

3. Focus on the “One Hundred Languages of Children”

Children express themselves in many ways and in traditional education only a few of those are valued and continually highlighted. The Reggio inspired approach believes that all these ways are critical to the learning process. Children express themselves through mediums such as recycled materials, clay, loose parts, light, shadow, and color.  Cooking and baking are also another “language” to think about. We suggest going on a scavenger hunt to find new and unique materials to play with! Allowing children represent their ideas in new ways helps push them to think outside the box.

4. Be a Parent Researcher

It can be helpful to ask questions such as “What is my child capable of?” and “What is my child interested in?” Always come back to your listening skills! These questions can guide the day to day routine and help them build different skills.  For example, Amber explained that during a morning pre-pandemic, she would dress her daughter in order to get out of the house quicker. However, now that they have more time in the morning, she has realized her daughter is capable of dressing herself. What else is your child capable of doing?

5. Find Joy

Academics is often separated from joy and play. In Reggio Emilia, they see all learning and knowledge as interconnected and valued. We know children can’t feel joyful all day but creating small, joyful moments can make a difference and encourage learning.  Learning through interconnectivity is a huge part of the thematic Advent curriculum and you can continue this at home by writing a grocery list, planting a seed, or writing a letter to a friend. These daily activities and touchpoints can be connected to academics and the social-emotional and natural world.

Learn more about The Advent School’s Reggio-inspired curriculum here.