Saturday, May 20, 2017

Children As Researchers

During the school year I teach Pre-K at a private, play based preschool that follows the educational philosophy of Reggio Emilia. We have been fortunate to have a Master Teacher and Reggio Emilia expert guide the teaching staff and administrators on how to best implement Reggio into our teaching practices and classrooms. At our final meeting of the school year our Reggio mentor ended our session with two quotes from Carlina Rinaldi that emphasize children's ability to wonder, search and learn. 

"Children for the ways in which we have encountered them - are the first great researchers. If we are capable of listening to them, children can give us back our pleasure in wonder, in marveling, in doubt. Children can convey the joy of search and research which belongs not only to children, but to women, to men, to humankind. It belongs to life."

"When your child asks: "Why is there a moon?"
Don't reply with a scientific answer. Ask him: "What do you think?"
He will understand that you are telling him, "You know your own mind and your interpretations and your ideas are important to me."
The you and he can look for the answers, sharing the wonder, curiosity, pain, everything. It is not the answers that are important, it is the process that you and he search together."

Carlina Rinaldi is the President of Reggio Children and Professor of Pedagogy at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. She worked side by side with Loris Malaguzzi in the municipal infant-toddler and preschool system of Reggio Emilia, where she was the first pedagogical coordinator.