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Children sit next to each other on a classroom carpet. One child has her hand extended, thumb raised.


Paulette Maggiacomo

Paulette Maggiacomo

May 14, 2020

Dr. Gigi Schroeder Yu joined us in April of 2017 at the Vero Beach Museum of Art to present the ‘Reggio Emilia’ approach to education. This approach began as a parent initiative in the region of Reggio Emilia Italy, in the aftermath of World War II. Parents from this town sought the help of Loris Malaguzzi to develop an early childhood education program that treated children with respect and recognized children as fundamentally creative and curious.

The Reggio Emilia approach holds four basic principles:

  • Children must have some control over the direction of their learning

  • Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing

  • Children must have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that allows for exploration

  • Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves

This approach also believes that there are three educators in a child’s learning journey: the teacher, the family and the environment. Today I would like to focus on environment as a teacher. Through research, we now see much more emphasis on children’s relationships with nature and the outdoors, and on the relation of living plants to the emotional and physical nourishment of human beings.

We are blessed to live in Florida where our environment is filled with wonder and awe. How can the outside be brought into your classroom? How can you create an environment that is respectful to the child? This does not mean that you have to throw out what you have, but, how can you renew what you have and how can the dollar store, backyards, neighbors/families and garage sales help?

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