A Note From Noah

After school today, two of our teachers are flying to Reggio Emilia, Italy, to participate in a week long international conference hosted by the staff of the Reggio infant-toddler centers. These are the schools and teachers which gave rise to the Reggio-inspired approach, which you have witnessed unfolding in your child’s classroom throughout their time at our school. This is an annual conference, and this year the largest number of educators ever are attending (460!). We are proud to be sending Alex Reynolds, co-head teacher in classroom 1 (2s), and Aida Mehmeti, co-head teacher in classroom 6 (PreK).

The Reggio-inspired approach is one in which the child-as-citizen’s voice is listened to deeply, and the school community is sculpted around what we hear the children saying and thinking. Carla Rinaldi (a progenitor of the approach) has referred to this as “the pedagogy of listening” – the more we listen to children, they more they teach us and themselves. The Reggio approach is one of deeply ingrained democratic values, where communities are constructed through meaningful relationships of all involved parties. Teachers, children, and parents come together to create the world they want.  Rinaldi refers to this as the capability of a classroom to create culture rather than simply transmit culture from one generation to the next. Learning, from this perspective, is about generation and not consumption.

These values and educative ideals have influenced our school in many ways over the past decade. Sari Lipschitz, our school’s atelierista, models her work after the atelieristas in Italy (Sari attended the conference in Reggio last year, along with Sarah Loeser in room 5). Our Journey Binders and Daily Reflections are inspired by practices in Reggio; our emphasis on process over product in the classroom comes from Reggio educators as well. Our teachers have also presented at Reggio conferences in NYC.

Throughout next week, our community will be able to follow Aida and Alex’s time in Reggio Emilia through the Common Space bulletin board, which we will update daily with pictures and information about what they are up to. We will also be scheduling a time to Skype with them through a TV in the Common Space at drop off one morning.

Our journey as a Reggio-inspired school is a dynamic one, always shifting in response to our curiosities as teachers and researchers.  We are excited to see how this trip inspires Alex and Aida and what new ideas and approaches they bring back from their travels.

Shabbat shalom,