In the modern world of elementary education, there are many options available to parents and their children. One of the schools growing in popularity and preference, is based on the Reggio Emilia approach. If you are interested in a Reggio Emilia environment for your child, but hoping to learn more about it, you are in the right place.
Reggio Emilia inspired schools offer an alternative, child-centered approach to learning. Many parents see it as the best fit for their child – but is it the best fit for yours? Below, we outline all you need to know about this educational approach, so that you can weigh the pros and cons of Reggio Emilia and make the best possible decision for your child. Here are a few key characteristics of a Reggio Emilia school to keep in mind as you consider your next step.
Unlike traditional elementary schools where the curriculum is extremely structured, a Reggio Emilia curriculum is flexible, hands-on, and largely interest-based. This approach allows children to guide their own learning experiences, based on their passions, interests, thoughts, and observations. The purpose of the Reggio Emilia approach is to empower children to take pride in their own education, so that they have positive experiences in the classroom and feel passionate to continue to learn and explore. Children participate in hands-on activities that encourage collaboration and problem-solving, both in the classroom and beyond. Teachers provide resources for each child to explore their interests and curiosities, whether that be in nature, art, books, music, building, or other areas of the classroom.
The Reggio Emilia learning approach, however, may not be the right fit for every child. Children who benefit from more structure in the classroom, may thrive in an environment where the curriculum is set and guided by the teachers. The curriculum and independent learning style is something important to consider when looking at the pros and cons of Reggio Emilia.
The classroom environment plays a huge role in a child’s educational experience. So, let’s look at the pros and cons of the Reggio Emilia environment. The Reggio environment is equipped to support its flexible, hands-on curriculum. Riverside Magnet School in East Hartford, for example, is an elementary school that uses the Reggio Emilia approach – and the learning environment reflects this learning method to facilitate growth. At Riverside Magnet, state-of-the-art classrooms are set up with resources and materials, like costumes, music, art supplies and other creative materials that encourage and empower children to take control of their learning. The classrooms at Riverside Magnet are also equipped with innovative technology like computers and smarts boards to support different and evolving learning styles, and to help children actively participate in their education.
Another one of the pros and cons of the Reggio Emilia and magnet school environment to keep in mind is the diversity of the student body. Inter-district magnet schools, like Riverside Magnet School, are unique in that they bring together students from different races, socio-economic backgrounds, and achievement levels regardless of their zip code. The diverse student body can be extremely beneficial to children as they grow, encouraging empathy, respect, acceptance, understanding, and collaboration amongst classmates.
As with all educational institutions, there are always benefits and challenges that need to be considered when deciding the best fit for our children. When weighing out the pros and cons of Reggio Emilia, consider the future of your child and if the benefits of a Reggio Emilia school will continue to support your child’s future success.
If you are interested in learning more about the Reggio Emilia inspired approach at Riverside Magnet School, simply contact our team or attend a parent information session.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.