I'll start by saying that there is a part of me that is relieved. I have read about and seen photos of and listened to people speak about the Reggio Approach so many times since I began teaching. And because of what I saw and heard, I began to consider myself "Reggio-Inspired", which is a pretty safe place to be in. I do not work in a school that uses the Reggio Approach - I am fortunate enough to have a flexible curriculum that allows me to create the environment and the general teaching approach.
I am relieved because it is a real place, with real people. Children attend the school who have Disney/Pixar lunchboxes, the kids play Uno sometimes, they have challenges with parents sometimes, children have behavior problems - it is not a utopia. Or does that make it more of one? I'm not sure. There are things that I saw that I wasn't interested in, or wouldn't use in my classroom.
I guess that point is, I'm now able to stop asking myself "Would They Do This in Reggio?" when I'm planning or changing the environment or thinking about next steps in a project. Because I have seen Reggio, I have listened to their teachers, and it comes down to this : passion and knowledge. Know your community and their needs, and love what you do. This was the most inspirational professional development I have ever done - I still consider myself an advocate of the Reggio Approach. But I really noticed that it has so much to do with your community and their values and priorities, and your own passion for advocating a positive image of the child.
to be continued...