Wednesday, 9 October 2013

MY Reggio - another visit...

Jeanne Zeuch from Zella said Purple posted a break up letter with Reggio Emilia yesterday (you can read it here)  It is worth taking the time to pop over and read it.

My own relationship with Reggio Emilia is very clear (to me), and I feel that Jeanne is going to enjoy her "break-up" but more importantly I hope that she will have encouraged many others to "break-up" with the image/facade of Reggio and delve into what it is REALLY about. 

It IS a friend 

Reggio is my friend not something I put on a pedastal, not something I want to clone - it is guidance, inspiration and the power to set you out on your own journey - the "problem" is when educators etc board the boat but forget to set sail! 

Each boat will be different - it needs to be adapted for ocean seas, small rivers, row boats, steam boats, viking boats, cruise-liners, ice-breakers - 
each work in different ways, relevant to where they are, to meet the needs of those on board and the place they find themselves ...
- I also believe that on this journey you will have to transform your boat as you venture into new waters and new passengers board!
It requires new and evolving skills -as your row boat evolves into a steam boat instead of oarsmen you will need engineers   - each part of the journey requiring a new need to learn to ensure the journey proceeds. Don't foget your map making and map reading - sometimes you will enter uncharted waters - you will need to document so that next time you pass this way you will have a better understanding.

And of course on the journey you stop off in new lands to see and meet more inspiration, load your boat with supplies (known and new) before setting out again...
Occasionally you will want to explore the great waters below you to better understand what it is that you are floating on.  You will have to learn ship/boat building so that you can meet the needs of yourself and the passengers and the requirements of the waters. Each stage, each process needs to be documented so that next time it is easier, next time there is more understanding, next time you can enjoy the process in a different way and notice new details.

 I have always loved REA - because it gave me the freedom to do what was right for the children and not have to adhere to a certain methodology. It gave me guidance as to how it could be done in a respectful manner - but I think I was Reggio before I knew Reggio, discovering the approach just gave me the strength to believe in my own journey. I have always looked for inspiration and understanding from all walks of life to support my work with children. My inner child has always valued each child, their learning, their joy, the newness of discovery... their need to learn through play and joy and the pride in being competent. 

Yes, the Reggio Emilia Approach is much better as a friend, not someone to emulate, but a good and respected friend that will question you in your choices, support you and inspire you... 

the journey you make as yourself ...

A boat.
What kind of boat are you steering right now? What adventures (projects)? How is your map collection (documentation) is it supporting your journey - or are you entering uncharted waters using guides from others whilst creating your own maps?

making a boat water-worthy...


  1. Loved ZSP's letter and love yours too :)

  2. Suzanne - Such lovely, poetic wordsmithing on the topic of embracing Reggio. I appreciate your perspective and your clear value of keeping yourself in play while integrating ideals of REA. You have built a beautiful boat to sail the waters of early childhood in your own community with your families. Well done. With gratitude, Jeanne (zella said purple)

  3. A lovely read Suzanne - I will be sharing your blog with my students on our return in September when we look a little deeper at International Perspectives of Early years education. I hope as I have been they will be inspired by educators and theorists worldwide and start their own journeys - making discoveries that will guide them in their work with young children never settling and constantly exploring with the changing winds.