How does the notion of relationships play into the pedagogy of the Reggio Approach to engage with educators, children, families and the community?
In a recent professional development opportunity, Bear Park teachers and other Reggio educators nationwide engaged in a three-day seminar with Tiziana Filippini—respected Reggio Children Pedagogista who collaborates in Italy and worldwide with regard to educational research, conferences, and consultancies. Through this dialogue, Reggio teachers have gained an expanded understanding of the interconnected system that surrounds us.
Below are some key aspects of the seminar…
The Role of the Pedagogista. The role of the Pedagogista is central to creating an effective education system, with the pedagogical influence providing teachers with a new lens to work with. By opening up new perspectives, teachers are able to identify a multitude of learning encounters for children and gain new understandings and knowledge. Additionally, pedagogical mentoring is an ongoing professional learning opportunity for teachers to discuss the daily life of the school, the learning programme for children, and embark into continued research for professional growth.
How do children use the Reggio Approach in engaging in participation? Participation in the Reggio Approach focuses on developing continuous meaningful connections between the school, community and the city. Reggio elaborates on the image of the child and empowers the role of the teacher and the school. A shared understanding and shared vision contribute to everyone having a mutual image of the school. Promoting the culture of childhood participation affirms the rights of children, families, and community.
What strategies can educators use to further explore relationships and collaboration in the learning environment? The careful constitution, collaboration, and management of “the working group” are important aspects that are key to the Reggio approach in order to build a sense of belonging and trust, and encourage active participation in children.
A very important pedagogical strategy is fostering the belief that education requires strong co-responsibility. The child needs meaningful interactions with children, teachers, the environment, and the community. Teachers must build a connection and dialogue for children to develop a relationship to the subject they are investigating. When children are in their working groups, they will have aims and intentions to explore.
The role of the teacher is to offer many possibilities for the children to encounter the subject from many points of view and to make things more meaningful for children. Teachers need to compare differences between children—help to make more possibilities and to enrich points of view and desire.
The role of culture and the interconnected system of relationships. Tiziana asked the teachers in the seminar to reflect on the types of relationships they would like to exist and experience—for themselves and for children to experience daily.
The competent child is empowered to find meaning and construct their own knowledge through:
- Their learning encounters,
- The quality of the learning environment, and
- The interactions that take place within these spaces.
Knowledge does not occur in isolation, but instead, it is reliant on the people, the materials, and the learning context within the learning environment. The teacher is responsible for the quality of these interactions in the learning space, along with the quality of relationships of children with each other. Working in collaboration with other children enables the child to have a more enriching learning experience by sharing information, exchanging ideas, and participating in the working groups.