The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education offers inspiration in so many ways. I’m particularly inspired by the Reggio philosophy of the hundred languages of children and how this shows up in literacy explorations by and for children. (i.e. child-led vs. teacher-led)
I recently began offering a new Outschool class, Creating and Experiencing Stories: Reggio-inspired Literacy, for ages 4-7. This class offers young children diverse explorations of literacy skills and ongoing opportunities to socialize. It upholds the image of the child as capable and competent and intentionally invites mixed-age groupings. It’s primarily child-led, and connects to “school readiness” skills including the “traditional” literacy & social-emotional skills such as: listening, speaking, story sequencing & comprehension, vocabulary, phonemic & print awareness. These skill-related explorations appear as:
- Invitations to explore story elements and topics related to stories (from books, images, songs, objects, facial expressions, drawings & more). I use the guided discussion technique to support learners in discussions; guided discussion is an active learning technique that encourages students to reflect on their own experiences, explore alternative ways of thinking, connect to a topic, and improve analytical skills.
- Story Inspiration Activities– games, images, toys and more. Experienced through a range of media and materials
- Listening to, documenting and encouraging children in their creation & sharing of stories using the Hundred Languages (this sometimes appears as children moving toys around and making sound effects, sharing drawings and talking about what’s happening in them, telling a story about a picture)
Activities are presented as an “invitation to explore”, rather than a “drill”. This honors children’s unique abilities and contributions to the group.
This all can (and does!) happen on Zoom…
I go deeper into what this looks like here, “Sharing love: stories, multimodal communication & virtual learning environments” and more about literacy here “Literacy and the Hundred Languages” .
Let me know what you think!