A Reggio Approach Video

Posted by on Sep 28, 2011 in Reggio Information | 88 comments

When I got pneumonia, I fell behind in documenting TB online, so while I get organized and caught up, I thought I would share this video about the RE schools. It is in Italian, but there are English sub-titles.

Exploration with a camera

Posted by on Aug 15, 2011 in Documenting TB | 15 comments

I have to admit, when TB asked to used my nice Canon camera, my first instinct was to say no. Then I stopped to think for a minute. TB has watched me use the camera carefully for over a year. He has used the point-and-shoot successfully in the past, though there are a lot of shots of his fingers. He could (and did) wear the neck strap.

In the end, he gave a lot of direction on where he wanted me to look and what he wanted me to do.

He took some lovely photos of the rowers.

He also took some where I had to ask what he was seeing. (Below: He told me he wanted a picture of Coach Harris– the gentleman in the blue shirt.)

In the end, I learned more of a lesson that June day than he did, I think. One that I need to remind myself of often. TB is watching what I do. He can use high quality materials in a meaningful way. He is highly capable. And his view of the world is not always my own which means I have a lot to learn from him.

Values: Viewing TB

Posted by on Jul 18, 2011 in Goals and Values | 35 comments

One of the primary influences in implementing the Reggio Emilia philosophy is the way in which children are viewed. For me, this is sometimes a struggle, because I know how I want to view TB, but it is at odds with society’s view of children, and I feel pressured to do things differently at times– to fit in. Because of this, I thought I would share some about how we view TB in our home and family and revisit this view periodically to see if the view has changed or if we are treating TB as we see and value him in our home.

By starting with our view of TB (and really children in general), I am exposing the foundation of how we do and will use Reggio.  Because of our image of TB, we are able to expose him to and provide him with experiences that others might fear.

Overall, we  view children as being powerful, and we view all people, no matter their age, as having God within and believe in treating them as such.

We view TB as:

  • Competent
  • Capable of exploring, developing theories, and thinking critically
  • Full of Potential and love
  • Protagonist– an active participant and constructor in his own development and formation of knowledge and skills
  • Valuable
  • Individual with God given talents, abilities, strength, curiosity, creativity and gifts
  • Wanting to do good/right

I usually try to stick to positive statements, but to show the contrast to a more traditional approach to education, we do not see TB as a vessel to be filled with knowledge, but rather a natural explorer of the world around him.

Dulce reminded me of this verse in 2 Timothy when posting about discipline, which I will end this post with today.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control.” ~ II Tim. 1:7



The Hundred Languages

Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 in Reggio Information | 332 comments

Today I am sharing a poem by Loris Malaguzzi who was the founder of the Reggio Emilia philosophy in Reggio Emlia, Italy. This poem has been translated from Italian, and you will find it in most every book (at least that I have found) that discusses Reggio.  I find it sends a powerful message about children and is a reminder to me to give TB the room he needs to express himself and explore the world around him with wonder and awe.

February 2011 Watching airplanes take off and land

The Hundred Languages

No way. The hundred is there.

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.

They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

Loris Malaguzzi
Founder of the Reggio Approach


Posted by on Jul 7, 2011 in Documenting TB, Materials and Supplies | 2 comments

While I am still working on posting our Goals, Vision and Values, I wanted to also get going on documenting some activities on the blog so that I do not forget what happened or (worse!) lose my notes. We are in the process of re-introducing some supplies to TB that he had at Riverfield but were not available to him at his most recent school. For us, this means giving him access to paints, clay, glue, etc for his own exploration. We have already noticed that he asks to play the wii and watch tv less and is far more interested in exploring materials than he had been in the past four to six months. Here is what I wrote when I first posted this picture on Facebook.

TB and I painted this together on 6/26/11. I started by painting green on the bottom while he was painting with blue up top. He asked me what I was painting and I told him grass. I asked what he was making, and he told me a blue sky. Later, he asked to paint over the green I had painted. I told him yes and began to paint with yellow up top to add a sun. Again he asked to paint over it, and I said yes. Eventually, he added some blue and red in the upper left to make a “monster.” In the end, he told me this is a “garden with a garden monster.” The garden monster is friendly.Along with exploring in mixing colors, we used a variety of brushes to make different textures and different sized lines.


Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 in Personal Reflection and Growth | 664 comments

*I originally posted this on Pieces of My Mind, but wanted to have it here to document our evolution as a Reggio-inspired home.

Moving to the east coast has brought a lot of changes to my family, and just when we were getting settled in to one routine, it was shaken up again. Long story short, we were not satisfied with TB’s school, and that situation came to a head in early June, so we have placed him in an amazing summer camp while we adjust our life and schedules for the biggest adventure yet– keeping him home for the Pre-K year and possibly beyond. (To be fair, we do plan on having someone come to our home a couple of days a week in the afternoons, so Kevin can work part-time.)

Like most things I do, this has brought on a lot of personal reflection, challenges, and growth. Fortunately my husband is on board and down for this change in our lives, as much of the hard work and change will fall on him. Unlike many homeschooling families, my husband will be the primary caregiver to our son, and therefore, the primary “teacher” during the day. However, I think as this plays out in reality, because we will not be “doing school” in a way that most people would recognize, we both will be TB’s teachers and do so in different ways.

When I first presented the options we have in homeschooling– from unschooling to a defined curriculum– my husband definitely was leaning towards unschooling. Having been homeschooled himself, my husband definitely has ideas of what he would like for it to look like in our home. Honestly, we both do, and as the weeks pass, we continue to refine our approach.

By now you are probably wondering what in the world I am trying to say! Essentially, I am saying this– We will be implementing the Reggio Emilia approach to education in our home. (The link is a decent summary, though implementation varies based on a lot of factors.) We find this approach to education to be consistent with our values as a family and how we view our son. It also allows both Kevin and I to be co-learners with and a resource for TB. We are definitely looking at this as an opportunity to be a growing and learning experience for our entire family.

Implementing Reggio in our home will require quite a bit of thought and reflection, a constant evaluation of what we do and why (including how materials are presented and the environment of our home), which will require that we change our values or change our approach as we mature and grow in implementing the approach. A big part of this cycle will come in documentation– both of TB’s work and growth and Kevin and my growth. Because of this, I am working on a separate blog (to be unveiled soon), which will document everything from how we view TB, education, and the process of learning to our goals for TB given our vision for his life.

If this blog becomes less active (is that possible?), I hope you understand why and will join in our new online community as we document our Reggio home. We do not know how long we will do this– one year, five, ten or more– but even if or when TB moves to a different educational environment, we hope the changes in our home will last. We believe in the Reggio approach, and we also believe it is more than “just school.” It is a way of life.

The North America Reggio Emilia Alliance has a lot of great information on Reggio, if you are interested in further research.

Welcome to our blog

Posted by on Jul 3, 2011 in Goals and Values | 129 comments

Though I already keep two public blogs and a private blog, I have started this separate place on the web to document our family’s immersion in to becoming a Reggio-inspired home. How we got here is a bit of a story.

While living in Tulsa, our son (TB) attended Riverfield Country Day School, which is Reggio-inspired and an amazing place. I would drop TB off and want to stay with him due to the fun they had exploring and growing!  When we moved to the DC area, we did place TB in a Reggio-inspired pre-school. However, we were very disappointed in the school. They paid lip-service to the Reggio philosophy, yet as a whole, the school functioned as a traditional environment. It was play based, but all of the principles that make Reggio what it is…well, they were mostly ignored.

After that experience, and a struggle to find placement for TB in a new school after schools had made their placement selections for the coming fall, we decided to keep TB home for his pre-K year. Because we believe in Reggio and already had brought much of it in to our home, we have decided to implement the philosophy even further in our home. In doing so, we are working to re-do TB’s room and work space. This is also an exercise in respecting TB, as we are including him in how he would like materials displayed and used in his room.

This blog will serve a few purposes:

1) To document my (and my husband’s) growth in the Reggio philosophy through self-reflection and learning alongside TB.

2) To document our goals for TB as we reflect on him and his needs.

3) To document TB’s activities and progress, which will allow us to see past the day-to-day, recognize longer-term interests and trends, and to see progress towards shaping TB in light of #2.

We do not know if homeschooling will last one year or more, but one thing is certain, this change for our home will last a lifetime!

Welcome to our journey!