I am sure that many of you are wondering what is Regio Emila? When I first walked into my practicum classroom last year I was thinking the same thing. I felt calm immediately as I walked in the door of the room. The lights were half off, there was calm music in the background and the placement of everything in the room clearly had a purpose. I knew immediately that I wanted my room to be exactly like this. When my sponsor teacher told me she followed a Regio Emila inspired classroom I just stared at her. She told me to go home and do some research and let her know how I felt about it. The next day I showed up and was over the moon! All of a sudden everything in her classroom made so much sense. Every beautiful little detail had a purpose.
Regio Emila approach is named for a school in a village in Italy that was formed just after WW2. Residents of Regio Emila saw all the destruction of the war and wanted to bring a new sense of joy and happiness to the children would not have to live through the same horrors they saw. Regio Emila as a pedagogy is student-centred and constructivist. It uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship driven environments. The program is based on respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery using a self-guided curriculum. One of the main beliefs of Regio Emilia is that students have “a hundred languages” in which they can show their learning and what they want to know. Some of these languages are drawing, painting, sculpting, drama, building etc. These languages are used to help teachers and students to better understand each other.
Another important aspect of Regio Emila is the role of the three teachers. The first of which are adults, the second is the other children, the last being the classroom itself. The classroom would incorporate natural light and indoor plants as a way of bringing the outside world. The classroom incorporates aspects that increase the aesthetics of the classroom that increase the chances of students being drawn into the learning that will be happening.
Throughout the rest of my inquiry, I will be looking at how this looks in an actual classroom as well as if I am able to bring it to higher grades.