Choosing the right educational approach can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when children are involved. With multiple options available, how do you ensure you find the right fit? It is important to remember that it’s not about choosing the best curriculum, but rather about finding the best approach for you and your child. To help with your big decision, we’ve created an overview of two noteworthy styles of early education: the Reggio Emilia Approach and the Montessori Method.
Is the Reggio Emilia approach for you?
Parents looking for a modern, dynamic, and constantly growing curriculum for their children have found what they’re looking for in a Reggio school. This approach does not pre-plan the course of study for children. Its trajectory is heavily based on the questions children ask, and the observations teachers make. Children are encouraged to explore and find solutions, as the answers will not be readily supplied to them. If you’re a parent looking for a flexible and changing curriculum, then a Reggio school might be just the right fit.
Is the Montessori approach for you?
Parents who choose a Montessori approach want their children to be accustomed to structure and self-reliance. Families who prioritize academics also find themselves leaning towards the Montessori environment, since it emphasizes quiet independent working spaces and a development in leadership skills. The Montessori Method comes with its own materials which generate a highly structured and planned program perfect for parents looking for a reliable and traditional education.
To know more about these approaches, keep reading…
The Reggio Emilia Approach in Early Years Education
Soon after the second world war, Loris Malaguzzi and other concerned parents, found the need for a new way of learning based on the social factors that influenced children. Together, they developed the Reggio Emilia approach, named after their town in Italy. This approach considers the stimulating atmosphere around children to be a teacher of its own; marking the environment as a crucial factor in the ways children begin to learn and develop. Reggio Emilia allows children to take control of their own interests and fascinations, by employing educational, psychological, and social stimuli which foster self-expression, communication, logical thinking, and problem-solving.
The Main Principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach:
– Emergent Program:
Classroom topics are developed based on meetings between parents, teachers and children, and from concepts that are of interest to the children (shapes, outer space, insects, and so on). Once notes have been compared amongst teachers, project planning begins with selecting the materials, and how best to involve a child’s community in their learning journey.
Projects stem from certain ideas and notions that children are interested in. These can be short or long-term depending on how quickly a child learns. During this learning process, teachers act as guides who advise children on how best to approach an activity, and what possibilities can be created through their exploration.
– Multiple Ways of Learning:
This approach values the notion that every child learns at a different pace with distinctive capacities. Reggio projects, therefore, include multiple forms of artistic learning, such as, art, drama, music, puppetry, and more. These art forms ensure that each child is able to connect to the projects explored.
– Community and Collaboration:
Working in collaboration is at the heart of a Reggio program. In large and small groups, children get a sense of the ways in which they can find solutions through dialogue and important interpersonal skills. Through collaborative work, children become more adaptable, and also gain a better sense of who they are.
In conclusion, the Reggio experience is comprised of three main aspects: the families, teachers, and the classroom, all playing a crucial role in shaping children.
- Parents are the first teachers, and also the most significant part of a child’s life. Their role as mentor and guide never ends, as a consequence of their continued partaking in their children’s learning journey.
- Reggio teachers are instructors and co-learners. They also play a critical role in the observation of the child. Documenting patterns of growth helps make it clear how children learn. This is vital because classrooms are constantly evolving, making it necessary to ensure that a child continues to learn efficiently.
- The classroom is commonly referred to as the “third teacher.” This is because in the Reggio environment (which includes: atelier, atelierista, home-modelled kitchen, natural elements, and more), children are provided with opportunities to encounter materials that allow them to work sensorially with their hands, and actively with their minds.
See how our nurseries bring Reggio Emilia to life!
The Montessori Method in Early Years Education
The Montessori Method was developed in the early 1900s by an Italian physician and educator named Maria Montessori. Much like the Reggio Emilia approach, this method takes great care to ensure that children learn at their own pace in an environment that caters to their various interests. Children are divided into classrooms based on the progress they’ve made rather than the age groups to which they are ascribed. The Montessori Method bases its curriculum heavily on the academic side of education, influencing children with deliberately placed materials which allow them to learn independently from the world around them. This method, as a whole, simplifies abstract concepts through repetition, practice, and self-determination. Below, we explore the significant role these materials play in a child’s learning journey.
– Control of Error:
The Montessori materials children encounter are self-corrective. This means that children will understand when they’ve completed a task because they experience the end results with their senses. For example, a child knows when they’ve finished a puzzle, because they can see that all the pieces fit together to create an image. This aspect of the materials allows children to correct themselves when they encounter a problem.
– Process of Development:
Materials presented to children in a Montessori classroom are laid out in an increasing order of difficulty, from left to right. These materials are also categorised according to a particular educational area i.e. Sensorial learning, Mathematics, Language, Culture, or Practical Life. Doing this supports a child through a process of development suitable to their own needs and abilities, helping them to incorporate logic, reasoning, and organizational thought into their daily lives.
– Fine Motor Skills:
Children learn first through the body, and only then will lessons be transformed into abstract ideas and understandings. Sensorial learning improves the emotional, physical, and mental skills that children should have. This also develops and refines their motor skills from a very young age.
On the Whole:
The Montessori Method is one of structure that helps discipline children’s logic, reasoning, and emotional skills. It creates a pathway of learning through a child’s senses, which then builds a solid foundation through which children can thrive in the present and the future.
For a 100% Montessori experience:
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