Reggio Emilia and sociocultural philosophy

“Children with additional needs are well catered for in programmes that are responsive to their strengths and needs. Leaders use their knowledge of the assistance available through agencies and  the community to support these children, their families and whānau.”” (ERO Report, 2015)

Te Kainganui follows the learnings of Reggio Emilia and sociocultural philosophy.

Reggio Emilia is a place in northern Italy which has given it’s name to a philosophy based on the group inquiry learning approach. The philosophy was developed there after World War II, with a focus on creating a climate of peace. Nga tamariki interests are investigated in small groups with questions and learning activities supporting the research. Discussion is important; documentation, art and an inviting creative environment are central to the investigation process.

Sociocultural philosophy acknowledges that learning is embedded in social and cultural contexts. Children/tamariki are viewed as powerful and competent learners, continuing to learn through active participation in educational, social and cultural activities. The social interactions between teachers, parents/whanau and children/tamariki are central to the learning process. The sociocultural perspective values ‘communities of learners’, including tamariki, parents/whanau and teachers, who are actively co-constructing the learning within the centre as they work together.

About sociocultural philosophy:

“From our point of view project work is designed to help young children make deeper and fuller sense of events and phenomena in their environment and experience that are worthy of their attention” (Katz, 1994, p.28).

“The documentation of the children’s ideas, thoughts, feelings and reports are also made available to the children to record, preserve and stimulate their memories of significant experiences thereby further enhancing their learning related to the topics investigated” (Katz & Chard, 1996, p.17)

“A program has intellectual vitality if the teachers individual and group interactions are mainly about what the children are learning, planning and thinking about their work, play and each other and only minimally about the rules and routines” (Katz, 1994, p. 30)

“Sociocultural theories support a complex model of teaching and learning. These theories suggest that teachers both create stimulating environments for young children and have the knowledge and skills to extend children’s learning during play. They acknowledge that children’s learning commonly occurs socially in groups, and within group settings. Yet children’s interests do not emerge out of thin air- they come from their prior knowledge and participation in experiences valued and provided by families and cultures. Teachers’ knowledge and interests can also offer new opportunities to extend children’s knowledge and thinking. In addition teachers have a responsibility to incorporate culturally-valued knowledge that children might not initiate” (Hedges, 2003, p.8)

“A focus on community within sociocultural theory has led to terms such as ‘community of learners’ and ‘communities of inquiry’. The term ‘community of learners’ emphasises that learning is a collaborative participation in shared experiences for people” (Hedges, 2003, p.9)

Reference List:

Hedges, H. (2003). Teaching and Learning: Theories that underpin ‘wise’ practice in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Early Education, 31, 5-12.

Katz, L.G. (1994). The project approach. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

Katz, LO.G., & Chard, S.C. (1996). The contribution of documentation to the quality of early childhood education. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

Education, care, friendship & fun for under 5's
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