Reggio Emilia

Using the physical environment as the third Teacher


I would like to start with a quote from Loris Malaguzzi the founder of Reggio Emilia.


Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite  banks  and just watch the river flow but instead they should embark together on a journey down the water.


The physical environment is an important part of this journey and how we can assist can make this journey  a memorable and  inspiring one.

Using the outside physical  environment as the third teacher is a big part of the Reggio Emilia approach.

All different types of buildings are purchased to run a reggio centre, these range from old  houses to purpose built centres. A lot of these buildings come with natural gardens and instead of ripping these  out and adding  new clean fresh fixtures Reggio works with the natural environment and looks at what they can add to facilitate children's learning for the outdoor experience.   



The Reggio approach to the  outside environment aims  to foster children's curiosity , imagination  and exploration.To facilitate and enhance childrens learning and independence  using the natural elements .The outside  environment  should allow children to have the chances to experiment and try out new possibilities and new challenges. 

Children explore the world  using their hands ,feet, fingers, finger tips , eyes  and senses , and  by giving them a spacious natural environment to explore we are enabling them to become aware of their physical self  their capabilities and  the opportunity to experiment with these.

A child's body is  memory learning journal - lets give the children all the tools, experiences ,encouragement and opportunities to make this journey an amazing one as they go through life. 

How do we do this ?

having a natural environment ,

 grass ,

dirt ,

trees,

flowers

pathways

wood pieces

bricks

tiles

stones

pebbles

seating areas made from trees, cushions  or tyres

open ended loose parts manmade and natural

We can then help facilitate childrens learning and exploration by adding

pieces of materials, sheets ,curtains, and scarves

outdoor  mud kitchens  

logs

pvc pipes

mirrors

ropes

boxes

gutters

metal sheets

child appropriate work tools  

and so much more.


The outside area should encourage provocation by doing this we can add areas for the children to investigate and  further extend , we can help  do this by adding sound elements hanging from trees so the wind makes them play music, creating small secret comfortable spaces for the children to go and enjoy moments of solitude, add inviting imaginative  touches ,creating sensory gardens with herbs and veggie patches , have the children participate in the general everyday maintenance and picking and cooking of the herbs and veggies. Creating  sheltered areas with storage where paints, canvas' clay and other  creative  materials and loose parts can be kept so that children can access them  choose when and how they like to be creative. Adding water taps with hose  pipes , let the children decide  ,do the plants need watering ? do we need water for a certain area of play .


remember the outside environments must work for the families and the educators as well as the children. Have families , educators and children make critical reflections of the environment and be a part of the decision making  .

Invite families into your outdoor environments , have working bees and hold parent events in these amazing areas.

 

I would now like to share with you some pictures of an outside environment from the Scuola comunale dell'infanzia which is in La Villetta ,Italy.


Please remember our children are not only our future but they are our present .

Thank you

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Public - 5/15/16, 9:47 AM