INSPIRATIONS BROUGHT FROM REGGIO EMILIA

From February 14th to February 16th, Katherine Stravogiannis, the Early Years Principal, Concept São Paulo, participated in a study group at the Loris Malaguzzi International Center, in Reggio Emilia, northern Italy. The theme of the encounter was "Curriculum from 0 to 11 years of age".

Reggio Emilia is considered by American magazines, such as Times and Newsweek, as the best methodology for infants. It is researched by educators from around the world and it also represents one of the sources of inspiration for Escola Concept. For Katherine, who has visited the city multiple times, "Reggio Emilia strongly values the child as a protagonist, considering creativity as a quality of thought." The commitment to listen to children is fundamental for thinking, developing and practicing the curriculum. This approach ensures that the voices, opinions and understandings of children are heard and made visible, which corresponds to the idea of Active Listening spread in Reggio. At Concept we connect this to the Cultures of Thinking. "Children have the right to be heard and have important things to tell us. As adults, we need to develop the capacity to understand the messages that children send", says Katherine.

Professor Loris Malaguzzi, the forerunner of Reggio's educational experience, was a man who lived the concept of interdisciplinarity; he was familiar with disciplines that challenged one another: "He understood how science is linked to art and how art is linked to mathematics", says Katherine. "He used elements of nature and conventional, far-reaching materials for his pedagogy," she explains. An important document that expresses the philosophy of Reggio Emilia is The One Hundred Languages (one of the walls of Concept São Paulo has this text plotted). In Katherine's perception, "In Reggio Emilia, schools are a place where culture is produced, the culture produced by childhood. The One Hundred Languages gives credit to children and adults for their creative and communication potentials. The One Hundred Languages are also an affirmation of the dignity and the equal importance of all languages, not just reading, writing and counting, which have become more obvious", she says.

Two other aspects evidenced at Escola Concept and strongly diffused throughout Reggio Emilia is the practice of pedagogical documentation, which communicates and makes the productions of children visible and the practice of research and exploration during childhood years, where theories are explored and further developed through research projects. Katherine shares that all children have distinct modes of interpreting the world and communicating what's real and these modes constitute the culture of childhood. "Culture is explicit and brought to life in a socially constructed space." Children are considered in their unity, in their social groups and in their diversity, as well as in their historical moment. "We can not ignore the power of our present childhood, its needs and its curiosities", she points out.

Finally, the schools and nurseries of Reggio Emilia are spaces designed for children, where they find real connections to express their languages, culture and true self. "It can be said that this is a pedagogy of building relationships and listening, based on the assumption that the child gets to know the world as a researcher, led by curiosity, posing questions and interpreting theories and contents", Katherine concludes.

Long life to Reggio Emilia inside Escola Concept!