Once your child reaches the age of two, he or she is ready to take the next step from spending all their time with mum by attending nursery, which provides a safe and secure environment in which to explore the world around them. While all preschools should offer a safe and secure learning environment, not all such institutions follow the same direction, as each school would have its own ideas on how young minds learn best, plus what should be included in the curriculum.
The Active Hands-On Approach
Very young children should not be introduced to traditional classroom learning, which is academic based, as they are not yet ready for intense study. Ideally, a preschool program would be based on fun activities that help the child to develop in many key areas, indeed, there is one preschool in Bangkok that combines the UK curriculum with the Reggio Emilia approach, which is world famous as a top early learning program.
Core Concepts of the Reggio Emilia Approach
This style of learning was pioneered just after the Second World War by an Italian preschool teacher and a group of local parents in the town of Reggio Emilia, which is in Italy. The approach follows these core principles:
- The Children Construct Their Own Learning – All learning is based around the children’s interests, and the children should be viewed as active contributors to the learning process, as opposed to passive onlookers.
- Learning is Based on Interrelationships – Learning occurs through the different relationships the children develop with the adults and other children they encounter.
- Children Should Be Allowed to Express Themselves in Any Way They Feel – It is important for a child to have the opportunity for self-expression, which might be in the form of verbal communication, art, dance or movement.
- The Learning Environment Acts as a Teacher – Whether the classroom or an outdoor play area, the immediate environment should play an important role in the learning process. The walls should be covered will the children’s work and natural materials such as wood and cotton are much preferred over composites, as this helps the children to better understand and appreciate the natural world.
- Teachers Take on the Role of Facilitators –Rather than disseminating knowledge in the traditional way of teaching, the Reggio Emilia teachers see themselves as nurturers of learning, and rather than simply instruct, they guide the children to seek answers for themselves.
- Documenting & Recording the Learning Processes – Using written notes, images and video, the teachers document the learning journey, which helps them to refine the process and also highlights in what areas the children excel and where they ned more help.
- Parental Participation – The parents are regarded as a critical component to children’s learning and are therefore encouraged to participate in many ways. This might take the form of storytelling, or perhaps helping the children to better understand their particular profession, and with project-based learning playing a major role, the parents and indeed community members are actively encouraged to take part.
If you choose a preschool that follows the Reggio Emilia approach, you can be sure that your child will develop in a balanced way.