Early School Teachers Attend Renowned Reggio Emilia Study Group

The study group provided a deep dive into the principles and practices that define Reggio Emilia, emphasizing the importance of child-led learning.
St. Margaret’s Early School teachers Hope Petrozzi, Jennifer Hardison, Erika Garcia and Sonia Yoshizawa and Director of Educational Technology, Angela Mackenzie, recently attended the Reggio Emilia Study Group in Reggio Emilia, Italy, immersing in the renowned Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. The study group provided a deep dive into the principles and practices that define Reggio Emilia, emphasizing the importance of child-led learning and daily family involvement.
Reggio Emilia Centers value each child's unique capabilities and interests while promoting inquiry-based learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. exploration, and a more personalized learning experience. The study group highlighted the importance of child-led learning and daily family involvement, emphasizing the child's perspective, creativity, and exploration in learning. 
There is a unique educational partnership highlighted by the study. “One valuable aspect I found was the shift in the role of the teacher to that of a facilitator and co-learner, promoting a collaborative educational process,” Mrs. Petrozzi said. The study emphasizes the value of implementing elements of the Reggio Emilia approach at St. Margaret’s, promoting critical thinking, creativity, and a deep sense of engagement in the learning journey. 
“The work done in Reggio Emilia schools is truly inspirational and in a sense their philosophy and teaching approach is a way of living within the community,” added Ms. Garcia, Early School Outdoor Classroom. “Through their documentation I can see that the children are seen, valued and have a voice in their learning journey.”

The Early School teachers experienced the invaluable perspectives and innovative strategies learned from the Reggio Emilia Study Group. 
Ms. Garcia expressed her eagerness to implement lessons into the classroom, “The study has confirmed our commitment to working with recycled materials with children, similar to Reggio’s Remida Lab.” This will not only promote sustainability but also encourages creativity and hands-on exploration through tinkering. By incorporating recycled materials, we can instill a sense of environmental consciousness and foster innovative thinking among our students.”
It is evident that St. Margaret’s curriculum is providing the benefits of this learning to Early School students. Mrs. Petrozzi remarks, “Reflecting on our Early School program, I have come to appreciate the depth of knowledge that our educators possess and their continuous commitment to learning, which ultimately benefits not only the teaching staff but also every student in our care.”
An additional value involves how students and teachers  embark on unit lessons and experiment with a variety of creative mediums. Dr. Hardison, art studio teacher shared, “As atelierista for the Early School, the ability to speak with an atelierista from Reggio Emilia helped me to see how we can better organize how the Early School students can engage with the art studio and myself more intentionally to become better aligned with St. Margaret’s constructivist approach to young children’s thinking.”
The Early School environment is a treasure trove of rich materials providing children with endless opportunities to engage, explore, and discover. The excitement resides in the prospect of sharing and implementing newfound insights to cultivate a more immersive and rewarding learning environment for St. Margaret’s students.
St. Margaret’s Early School teachers who attended the study all agree that the experience continues to enhance how they work with each other as colleagues, and also how they work with Early School students to build the foundation for their future academic learning. 
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