Early Years Teaching Philosophy Reggio Emilia Approach
The IEYC programme is inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. A Reggio inspired educational programme shares the image of a successful child as one who is curious, confident, competent and well prepared for the future. It also recognizes the importance of the environment to provide learning opportunities for students to investigate, analyze, question, test ideas and take action. Emphasis is placed on the development of collaborative skills, social skills, independence and in developing a sense of belonging. Students are encouraged to use language and mediums to investigate, to explore and to reflect on their experiences. Teachers continuously provide opportunities for all to learn and explore together.
The Reggio approach focuses on the following philosophical ideas –
• The Image of a child
• Play based learning
• Provocation and inquiry
• Environment as the Third Teacher • Student agency and choice
• 100 Languages of Children
• Documentation of Learning
• Teacher as Researcher
Our Image of a Child
We believe that children are unique. They are capable, curious and insightful and able to express this in many and varied ways. We value what they have to share and offer and we seek to work together with them, to develop their knowledge, skills and understandings.
The image that we hold of our students is where the teaching and the learning begins for each student. Teachers are deeply aware of a student’s potential and preferred ways of learning. They intentionally plan the learning environment and the learning activities to meet the aspirations and needs of the students in their class.
Play Based Learning
Play based learning is a teaching approach that is recognized world-wide by leading researchers in the Early Years Education held to be the most effective way of teaching children in the Early Years.
Play-based learning is an approach that uses play as a pathway into deep and meaningful learning. Each teaching team spends significant time planning and preparing the learning environment with rich provocations and inviting play opportunities. To the observer, play may look superfluous, but within the student’s play, the teacher has integrated specific learning objectives.
Play based learning is a necessary element of each child’s learning and development at INNOVA, and will ensure that each child is socially, emotionally, physically and academically ready for further education beyond the Early Years.
The Learning Environment as the ‘Third Teacher’
Renowned Reggio educator, Loris Malaguzzi highlights the importance of the environment as the ‘third teacher’.
“There are three teachers of children: adults, other children and their physical environment.”
Therefore, at Innova Early Years Centers we use the learning environment (both inside and out of the classroom) to help students understand the connections between knowledge, skills and understandings, therefore building deeper learning.
Innova Early Years Centers understand the significance of the environment as the ‘third teacher’ and its potential to inspire students to wonder, explore, create and connect. Careful thought and attention is given to the materials, textures, colors, natural light, order and beauty of our spaces. We create inviting and engaging spaces for our students to learn in.
The learning spaces encourage collaboration, communication and exploration. Both students and adults take responsibility for the care and cleanliness of the learning spaces. Our classrooms have an open plan design which connect to shared spaces. These spaces provide areas for sharing and creating, and hold displays designed to provoke questions. The library and other quiet spaces are filled with books encouraging individual or shared reading amongst students and parent/s. Ateliers are special studios designed as flexible spaces for students to learn through cooking, fine arts, design, and technology.
Students from the IEYC have the opportunity to visit local parks and walk around their local environment which provides a physical connection to the world around them.
Our playgrounds also include gardens for students to experiment with planting and growing, leading to an understanding of the “life cycles”!
The Early Years is a time of rapid language acquisition. Students must establish a strong foundation in their mother tongue language to ensure they have developed core skills in communication, vocabulary development, syntax and language structure.
Students who spend two or more years at the Innova Early Years Centers can develop the foundation skills that prepare them for proficiency in English.
The co-teaching model of a foreign teacher teaching with a bi- lingual Chinese teacher means students have access to both Chinese and English at all times and teachers will challenge and scaffold language learning based on the needs and readiness of each student.
Learning language is a process of language acquisition and using language to communicate ideas, self-expression and develop thinking. Both languages are developed through modelling by adults and other children, and through contextually relevant and meaningful experiences. Language is scaffolded through repetition and activities that build on each other to extend and enrich language and thinking.
Innova provides a rich literacy environment in both Chinese and English. This encourages children to share their experiences and thoughts through pictures, marks, symbols and stories.
As partners in your child’s learning, we encourage families to celebrate their mother tongue and cultural histories. Parent/s are invited to share stories, cultural artifacts and family histories to enrich the learning experiences of our youngest students.