All or Nothing?
This past week, we’ve looked at many different aspects of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education here on AOE.Now that you have learned a little bit more about Reggio- I hope you can see how you can easily incorporate some of these Reggio philosophies into your teaching.
I must admit, I do have some guilt about Reggio. For years I have loved the idea of Reggio but totally written off the feasibility of applying any of it. I thought these ideas were for “other teachers” and I was stuck in this public school and was only able to teach one way, by following the curriculum. It was that all or nothing approach I couldn’t shake, hence my guilt. I have spent too many years teaching and missing out on some of the “good” stuff that was unfolding right before my eyes.
Here are some of the lessons from Reggio that I myself need to work on:
- Taking the time to listen, and I mean REALLY listen to a student talking about his or her art
- Connecting with parents in a true sense, not just a monthly newsletter that is generalized
- Making more of an effort to incorporate other subjects in the art room even if the curriculum doesn’t require it. I’ve had to work extra hard to add interdisciplinary connections myself, because I enjoy it and I think it’s a very important part of student development - plus, these types of things can literally SAVE your art program when times get though.
My Realization: It’s not All or Nothing!
The more I think about it, though, the more I realized as I was developing the course, that you CAN effectively find a happy balance even if you can’t have the whole enchilada. I’ll probably never teach in a Reggio school but the lessons that are learned can be priceless. Sidenote – someday I would love to visit the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy – Wouldn’t that be amazing?! I admit, sometimes when I think about the logistics of trying to do it all overwhelms me, but learning about this philosophy has succeeded in directing me back to my values, from which at times I have strayed and remedied me about why I teach art. So much of the Reggio philosophy resonates with my exact beliefs and values in art education. I can’t afford to abandon them now. I must push forward and so should you.
So, I guess you could say I have learned a lot to share with you but I am also learning, discovering and trying out some of these strategies myself. We are never done learning and I can’t wait to take the journey with all of you in our December AOE Course Rethinking Kindergarten! There is still time to sign up and space left in the class! Sign up by November 30th!
Anyone else get paralyzed by an all nothing approach to a new strategy?
What helps you overcome this?