The constructivist approach to early childhood education offers children the opportunity to construct knowledge through daily experiences and encounters with parents, teachers, peers, events, and objects in the world. Children develop theories, negotiate learning, and merge thoughts together, thereby building knowledge and understanding.
It is the right of all children to be part of a school community that respects them as competent individuals who are viewed as contributors to the process of learning. The educators of Reggio Emilia show us the possibilities of what can happen when we trust and respect the capabilities of children.
We believe that the Reggio Approach is successful because of its powerful image and deep respect for the culture of childhood, and for its strong belief that children, teachers, and parents all work together in the process of building knowledge.
In February 2004, we traveled to Italy where we participated in an international conference with educators from more than 30 countries. At the conclusion of the conferences, we joined a study group which enabled us to tour the schools, spend time with the teachers and children, attend workshops, participate in discussion groups, and view documentaries.
We cannot replicate this system, as it is exclusive to the culture in which it exists. However, through our research into the Reggio Approach, we are able to enrich our daily experiences with the children in our schools.
Each day and every moment, we, the teachers, follow the directions of the children and adapt ourselves, always observing, documenting, listening and interpreting their goals, theories and strategies so we can gain insight into their thinking, always ready to make changes and support the children in their discoveries.