We believe that children learn by exploring and experiencing, by asking and telling, and by reflecting upon and revisiting their experiences. This growth and learning process takes place with the support of caring adults and peers and within the context of a rich and interconnected web of child, family, local community and greater community. We base our beliefs upon our own experiences as educators, our culture(s) and upon the research of child development and learning theorists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, Dewey and Bronfenbrenner. Building upon our own well-established philosophy of learning through play, Palisades Preschool directors, teachers and families are exploring the elements of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.
The schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy are recognized internationally for their high quality programs that feature:
- An image of the child as a competent and creative individual
- A social-constructivist teaching and learning model
- Emphasis on the environment as the third teacher
- Observation and documentation of teaching and learning experiences
- Value of family and family participation
- The teacher as a co-researcher, collaborating with children and families
Through study, professional development, collaboration and classroom application of new methods, we are learning and growing as early childhood educators. Whenever possible, we engage in dialogue with the teachers and directors at our neighboring Reggio-inspired preschools through attendance at workshops, educators’ tours, presentations, classes and meetings. We embrace the opportunity to join the children as researchers and to enhance the quality of our program for young children.
As a result of our new understandings about the nature of teaching and learning as a collaborative process, we have modified the description of our approach–learning through play—to include an additional affirmation—learning through play. . .together.