We consider ourselves a Reggio Inspired centre. Children are full of curiosity and creativity, and in a Reggio inspired classroom, these qualities are consistently emphasized. A Reggio-inspired curriculum is always flexible and will change based on the children’s ideas, thoughts and observations. For this reason, the educators in a Reggio inspired classroom do not follow a specific or fixed curriculum. Instead, they create an evolving learning environment that empowers students’ curiosity, exploration, and response. Children can pursue topics that interest them, while educators can facilitate that learning. Our staff are able to customize learning based on the children’s unique needs and interests.
The Reggio Emilia approach also depends on a relationship-driven learning environment. Essentially, students create the curriculum and educators are seen as co-learners and observers; the classroom itself becomes a “third teacher.” Because students learn directly from their learning environment, a Reggio inspired classroom is set up in a way that is meant to be a reflection of the culture that the children live in.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather!” is a firmly believed philosophy at our centre. Play happens in all types of weather! So much learning and growth emerges from interacting with various weather patterns and temperatures. Children and educators/parents/caregiver begin to normalize checking in with each other, listening to their hearts, bodies, and minds, and using language to help them name what they are feeling. Experiencing different weather conditions can strengthen our love, care, and connection to the land and the environment.
At Village Treehouse we value courageous play. We try to say yes as much as possible when it comes to children experiencing risky, courageous play. Risky play involves kids experimenting and pushing themselves to figure out what will happen, without knowing the exact outcome. If kids don’t go far enough with their play, it’s boring and if they go too far, it gets too scary. The children have a chance to test out their environment and determine what they’re comfortable with.
When we have kids engage in courageous play, it’s really a fundamental way for them to figure out the world — how the world works, how their body works and that these little experiments are all done “in context of a relatively safe space.” Courageous play in early childhood can help develop a child’s self-confidence, resilience, executive functioning abilities and even risk-management skills. Engaging in courageous play can actually reduce the risk of injury, too. The staff monitor the risk with activities and ensure the children are thoughtful about the risk by posing questions about their surroundings.
We encourage the children to take an active part in exploring the environments we provide for them both outdoors and indoors.