Recently, 19 students and two professors traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy for a two-week intensive study abroad experience. The group was comprised of seventeen undergraduate and two graduate students, all teacher candidates in the Department of Early Childhood and Adolescent Education or the Department of Exceptionality Programs.
The purpose of this experiential program was to learn about the Reggio Emilia approach, a world-renowned early childhood education philosophy, in its birthplace.
Through observations and interactions with teachers and students within the Reggio schools, in conjunction with lectures led by master teachers, pedagosistas, and administrators at the Loris Malaguzzi International Center, everyone gained a better understanding of the Reggio approach and how it can positively impact their future Pre-K-grade 4 classrooms. This inquiry and arts-based approach to young children’s learning was perceived by all as conducive to cultivating competent learners and human beings who (re)think, collaborate, and create.
Teacher candidates used the Reggio philosophy to strengthen their understanding that educators are a “compass for children” acting simultaneously as a guide, problem-poser, researcher, observer, and a documenter, all in the pursuit of nurturing and making learning visible.