Image Of The Child-Reggio Emilia

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Image of the child… some thoughts inspired by the educators in Reggio Emilia

 Malaguzzi talks about how the pleasure of learning, knowing and understanding is an essential feeling.  The pleasure of learning is strongly interwoven with the social relations, feeling and emotions that people have.  He talks about the importance of doing “nothing without joy.”

Children are active learners from before birth, who begin to create complex communication systems from birth.  They are active stakeholders in the construction of meaning for all actions and experiences they are exposed to and are part of.  The educators in Reggio Emilia speak about how everyone is a traveler looking for meaning and how children should be encouraged to ask many questions to help them make the meaning they are looking for.  When children are faced with situations that are unusual they are highly creative in finding ways to understand what they are experiencing.  They are not just happy with encountering the world but inherently want to question it  and to make theories about the meaning of the world.  As educators, it is important to remember to look and listen carefully to what children tell us and show us to be able to support the creation of meaning.  Through the careful observation of children educators are able to develop very precise points of entry for learning provocations as part of the ongoing subjective process of the construction of meaning for children.  When listening to children the educators are focusing on what the children already know and build upon that, rather than what the children don’t know.

 When developing learning experiences for children great care is taken to present the resources selected in an engaging and motivating way.  Everyday resources are selected to allow children to develop interpretations of their world, by creating new relationships between known or usual things.  The use of everyday objects in different ways is embedded within this project.

 Taking a credit view of learners is of vital importance when educating children.  This means seeing them as capable and competent learners.  This tenet is also explored within the Early Years Learning Framework where it states that children actively construct their own understandings and that “Viewing children as active participants and decision makers opens up possiblities for educators to move beyond pre-conceived expectations about what children can do and learn.” (taken from Belonging, Being, Becoming, 9)