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Read about Reggio's pedagogy and environment flourishing in its Primary School
"A school where experience, the doing of body and hands and thinking come together; a school as a learning "workshop", where creativity and the aesthetic dimension become essential qualities of knowledge."
During our recent Skylight research group visit to Reggio, we visited the Malaguzzi Centre Primary School, to explore how their pedagogy is evolving, and were drawn to a new publication of theirs which throws a great light on their experience. We think that it is really fascinating, and gives a lively insight into the work and life of this primary school, its children and educators.It is an ideal reader if you are planning to attend a Study Week in Reggio, as you are likely to have the chance to see inside this school, and will really help you understand what's going on.
Usually, it is only available to visitors to the school, but by arrangement we will be able to order copies. Here is a review of the book, kindly written by Chris Merrick, and at the close of this article is what to do if you want to order the book.
This book, produced by the Municipal Preschool and State Primary School at the Loris Malaguzzi Centre in Reggio Emilia, is an introduction to the school itself, and provides an insight into how the Reggio Emilia approach is extended beyond preschool and through to Y6 of primary school.
The school is housed in an early twentieth century industrial building and was opened in 2009. Its design is by the team who wrote the "Children, Spaces, Relations" book in dialogue with teachers, pedagogistas, atelieristas and parents.
The book describes the interior of the building, with pictures of the building during the renovation process, diagrams and maps of the spaces.
The school is intended as a "space of the possible. The transparencies allow multiple viewpoints, visibility, concurrency in actions and reciprocal gazes." This is reflected in the pictures which show the beautiful open spaces, the stepped spaces in some of the classrooms that are designed to create "places within places", and the large shelving systems storing diverse materials.
The school embodies the principles of Reggio Emilia with the piazza at its heart as a public space and the whole school designed as a place of research, a "diffused atelier…inhabited by objects, materials, lights".
It is a far cry from many of our primary schools where the organization of classrooms is designed to aid instruction. Here are no set text books or programmes of study, instead "design–based thinking is constructed in groups… constantly defining and interpreting the experience of the school, with working hypotheses constituting a structure that is open to modification during the course of the year".
The book provides an insight into a different way of educating children, not just at preschool level but throughout their primary years, and a welcome challenge to the prescribed Anglo-American teaching methodologies which will surround many international readers.