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Inspirations from Reggio

Education methods home made math Reggio

"All people - and I mean scholars, researchers and teachers, who in any place have set themselves to study children seriously - have ended up by discovering not so much about their limits and weaknesses, but rather their surprising and extraordinary strengths and capabilities linked with an exhaustible need for expression and realisation. “
~ Loris Malaguzzi
Following World War II, in the villages surrounding the city of Reggio Emilia one teacher (Loris Malaguzzi), and a handful of parents had a belief in their children that led this obscure Italian province to be upheld around the world. What was this belief? That children are “strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge” (Kate from aneverydaystory) and that they deserve an education that nurtures and utilizes these truths.
While the schools established in Reggio Emilia were (and still are) Early Learning centers and preschools, the philosophy of the schools can be applied to all ages. When we employ this philosophy the education style is referred to as Reggio Inspired. Kate from An Everyday Story outlines a really great explanation of Reggio for beginners as well as how to set up a Reggio Inspired Activity and I highly recommend you go and read those. I’m just going to run through 3 inspirations we can draw from this method.

Children are capable of constructing their own learning.
In home made math the activities are predominately a series of questions or problems, and the guide or parent is encouraged to allow the child to develop their own way of answering these questions. The examples or calculations are really just given as a practical tool to help if you get stuck. I’m a firm believer that the child’s learning will be deeper if they construct their own knowledge. That is why most activities are open ended with no set method or answer. They are designed to start your child on their own mathematical journey.
home made math provides opportunity to interact with the environment to test and develop mathematical ideas. It also calls for hands on learning through manipulatives. If you follow a Reggio inspired method you will be able to choose natural manipulatives to complete the activities.
The adult is a mentor and guide.
You will notice in home made math that I refer to the adult as a guide. The activities are designed to be worked through together; for you to be there for your child to bounce ideas off. You are not the expert but a tool for them to develop their own understanding, and I hope that you will find the activities enjoyable too and learn alongside your charges.
In Reggio inspired education projects are not planned in advance, they develop based on the interests of the child. The adult guides the child through their learning providing experiences to suit their needs. In this way buying a home made math unit may not fit with your child, or it might. If they are really enjoying a read aloud or specific topic, for example farm animals, you may find a hmm unit, such as Charlotteʼs Web, a great way to further explore this topic.

The Hundred Languages of Children is an important tenet of a Reggio inspired environment. It refers to “The belief that children use many many different ways to show their understanding and express their thoughts and creativity.” (Kate, aneverydaystory) One of the goals of homemademath is to make mathmematical expression and understanding accessible to those who are more naturally inclined towards literacy or creative activities. I hope to provide learners who express themselves this way a method of approaching and demonstrating mathematical understanding that does not confine them to the traditional written calculation methods.

I hope that if you use Reggio Inspired classroom that you will find home made math useful to support your ideas of the strength of the child to create their own knowledge.
Had you heard of Reggio Inspired education? It was a new terminology to me, however I feel it is closely linked to Montessori and Mason’s  ideas about children, but results in a slightly different method that leans close to unschooling. What do you think?


Xx Becky

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