Preschool Philosophies: Reggio Emilia Approach | NO SMALL MATTER
Hello! Welcome to room five! Today, I’m here with Jessica Spangler and we’re at the Velma Thomas Early Childhood Center. Tell me about your school! We are a preschool
program for Chicago Public Schools. It’s a program for any three to five year olds in the Chicago area. And what’s the philosophy here in Velma Thomas?
Our school philosophy is the Reggio Emilia approach. So can you tell me a little bit about the history of Reggio? Yeah, so it started after World War II by a teacher named Loris Malaguzzi. One of the
main components of it is the hundred languages of children, which we try to follow through
our curriculum, which is the belief that children have hundreds of languages. That they’re not
good at just one thing, they can be good at multiple things. Their special language maybe
is painting. Their special language is verbal. Their special language is building, you know.
So it really takes that into account. It’s very heavily arts-based, also play-based. We do a lot of play, a lot of unstructured playtime and some structured playtime. Children are
active participants in their learning and they really set the tone and we want to be
their co-learners. So that’s really important What makes Velma Thomas really special?
We really work to make a community with our families and children. Preschool is their
first schooling experience and we want to set that foundation for them to understand
their child. Also, teaching parents they have rights, which is super important. That they
have rights and they also are the first teachers. Where are we now? Okay, so this is the rug space, which is my personal
favorite. I love building, but a lot of building happens here, a lot of movement, we try to
do a lot of movement. There is an entire bin that says natural materials.
It just feels better. We don’t use a lot of plastic. A lot of that. So we use shells, we use rocks, sticks…
this is awesome… a lot are for counting… acorns, a lot of math stuff goes around natural materials. First off, favorite part about this area is
the fresh baked pies served daily cause it’s pie. Cause it’s amazing.
What do we have here? Okay, so this is kind of like the housekeeping
area. The kids use the top as the kitchen. Down underneath you’ll see the dollhouse.
There’s like a little baby chair. So the kids go in and our of here. They’re in and out
all the time, up and down all the time. But it’s nice to have different levels to your
classroom… oh definitely… because you, I mean just playing on single levels is fine
but they love the loft. It’s very special. And the different views you get from being
up there. It’s amazing. You guys always show, not only putting literacy
out there, but then having, you may not know that’s the word markers, but because of the
picture you know that markers go in there. And also organization is huge in Reggio. You
want to keep everything organized. You don’t want to give a lot of materials, you want
to give enough materials. So that the kids really utilize what’s there and not like everywhere.
A lot of our drawings that we do with the kids are white paper with black sharpies.
And then even if you want to add color, you can always make copies. But their original
work with line drawings is absolutely the best. Stunning… And also making sure that
everything is at their reach. Like making sure they can reach a painting, pick their
own paintbrush, pick their own piece of paper. Even as an artist you think, what materials
do I need to complete this painting? And, so it’s really important they have this selection that they need. The water table. In this case it’s just
full of water, in different materials. But we’re not only doing sensory in the sensory
area, which this would be kind of a sensory area, we’re doing sensory all the time. We’re
making playdough, using clay, we’re using wire. So it’s like sensory is not only limited to
here in our classroom but obviously we have things like sand and the sand table, water
and the water table. Sometimes we’ll change it. They’ll make goop. They’ll dig worms out
of the dirt and they’ll do things like that. So, really changing these up is really important.
Sensory is huge for a three year old. Oh completely, and I love the fact too that this is all clear,
because then you can really do like laying underneath and looking up, just having a different
perspective. Well, thank you so much. Yeah, thank you!
Thank you for coming, it’s wonderful. Bye everyone, thank you for visiting.