📓 Reggio Emilia

Cameron Paterson reflects upon a recent study tour to Reggio Emilia. Some of the points that stand out is that in Italy children are not labelled as having special needs, but rather special rights, tests are replaced with documentation and the focus is on collaboration and co-construction.

In some notes on the topic of empathy and belonging, Paterson discusses the way in which the focus is on celebrating the strengths, rather than focusing too much on deficits:

At a time of increased conformity and standardisation in education, I like to offer the Reggio Emilia approach as a different path of possibility. One of Reggio’s key aims is to look at what children can do, rather than what they can’t. In Reggio Emilia schools, children with disabilities receive first priority and full mainstreaming under Italian law. Instead of being labelled “children with special needs” they are labelled “children with special rights.” Every child is seen in terms of the resources and potential they bring, rather than what’s missing.

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