Over the past two days, I had the ulitimate experience. I was able to attend a workshop titled: Infusing the Reggio Approach in a New York City Public School. I have been working throughout the year and working with my co worker to learn how to infuse this into my prek program. From reading and some visits, I was able to gain some insight on how to do this, but as always was left with many questions. As it is getting closer to the end of the year, I still am struggling with how to do projects and how long to keep them? , as well as where do I go next?
I was starting to become burnt out, and was happy when the opportunity came to go to this workshop. Over the past two days, a spark reignited and I am now so excited to get back to work and try to infuse some of these ideas as best as I can. Although this is a work in progress, starting small is definitely one way to go, and I look forward to incorporating this more. I also look forward to going back to work and sharing with my fellow coworkers what an amazing approach this can be not only for the teacher but the students as well. It is hard as a teacher to step back and let the students, "lead" the learning but it definitely is an eye opener to what students can really do and excel when we give them the opportunity to do that.
I was able to hear from Lella Gandidni, who has published research on early education in Italy and is working to help teachers in the United States put this into their classes. I also was able to hear from Jennifer Strange, who is a Northern American Reggio Emilia Alliance board member, who started this in a public school in Missouri, which was an underachieving school. Through this approach students have excelled, the school has grown, and students/parents are so excited in learning together.
Another exciting aspect of the program was the chance to visit classrooms of teachers who are using this approach and the way in which the students were so willing and excited to share their learning. Through this workshop and the information given, it has helped me to take a step back and reflect on what I am doing in the classroom and where I want to go.
One very important thing I took from this is the environment as the third teacher, "the structure, choices of materials, and attractive ways in which educators set them up for the children become an open invitation to explore. Everythign is thoughtfully chosen and placed with the intention to create curriculumn and exchanges between people." Lella Gandidn Reggio Children Liason in the US.