Ruamrudee International School (RIS)
Thailand | T. Chalong, A. Mueang, C. Phuket | 2022 (1957)
Emilio Reggio Approach
Reggio Emilio, Similarity to Montessori: Exploring the Emilio Reggio Approach at Ruamrudee International School (RIS)
When it comes to choosing the right education approach for their children, parents often find themselves at a crossroads. The Montessori method and the Emilio Reggio approach are two popular and well-regarded educational philosophies that have garnered a lot of attention over the years. For Montessori parents seeking alternatives or insights into other educational approaches, the Reggio Emilio philosophy can be a fascinating option to explore. In this article, we will delve into the Emilio Reggio approach as implemented at the renowned Ruamrudee International School (RIS) in Thailand, and we will examine the similarities and differences it shares with Montessori.
Introducing Ruamrudee International School (RIS)
Before we dive into the Emilio Reggio approach, let’s take a moment to get acquainted with the institution that practices it. Ruamrudee International School (RIS) is a leading international school located in Thailand, specifically in the areas of T. Chalong, A. Mueang, and C. Phuket. Established in 1957, RIS has a rich history of providing a high-quality education to students from diverse cultural backgrounds. As an institution that values holistic development and innovative teaching methodologies, RIS has embraced the Emilio Reggio approach to enhance its educational offerings.
The Emilio Reggio Approach: A Brief Overview
The Emilio Reggio approach to education is named after the Italian town of Reggio Emilia, where it originated after World War II. Loris Malaguzzi, an educator and psychologist, played a pivotal role in developing this progressive educational philosophy. At its core, the Reggio Emilio approach is child-centered, placing a strong emphasis on the idea that children are competent and capable learners who construct knowledge through their experiences and interactions with their environment.
Key Principles of the Emilio Reggio Approach
- Child-Led Exploration: In Reggio Emilia-inspired classrooms, children are encouraged to explore and investigate subjects that pique their curiosity. Teachers act as facilitators, supporting the child’s learning journey rather than directing it.
- Project-Based Learning: Projects play a significant role in the Reggio Emilia approach. Children engage in long-term, in-depth investigations of topics that emerge from their interests, leading to meaningful and hands-on learning experiences.
- Expressive Arts: Creative expression is highly valued in the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Art, music, drama, and other forms of artistic expression serve as powerful tools for children to communicate their thoughts and emotions.
- Collaborative Learning: Collaboration is fostered among children, teachers, and even parents. This collaborative environment promotes a sense of community and mutual respect, enriching the learning process.
- Documentation of Learning: The learning progress of each child is carefully documented through various means, such as photographs, videos, and written observations. This documentation serves as a valuable tool for reflection, assessment, and communication with parents.
Reggio Emilio, Similarity to Montessori: Focus on the Child
One of the fundamental similarities between the Reggio Emilio and Montessori approaches is their shared focus on the child as an active participant in the learning process. Both philosophies recognize that children have a natural curiosity and an innate desire to explore and learn about the world around them.
In Montessori classrooms, children are given the freedom to choose activities that align with their interests and developmental stage. The Montessori method emphasizes hands-on learning, allowing children to engage with specially designed materials that promote independent exploration and problem-solving skills. Similarly, the Reggio Emilio approach encourages child-led exploration, enabling children to take the lead in their learning journey and pursue subjects that intrigue them.
Embracing Creativity: Arts and Expression
Another striking parallel between the Reggio Emilio and Montessori approaches is their strong emphasis on creativity and expressive arts. In Montessori education, creative expression is encouraged through activities such as drawing, painting, and storytelling. These activities not only foster artistic skills but also aid in language development and emotional expression.
Likewise, the Reggio Emilia philosophy places significant importance on the arts as a means of communication and exploration. Children are encouraged to use various art forms to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas, nurturing their imagination and creativity. Both approaches recognize that creative expression is a powerful tool for children to make sense of the world and communicate their understanding.
Project-Based Learning: Delving Deep into Subjects
Project-based learning is a hallmark of both the Montessori and Reggio Emilia methodologies. In Montessori classrooms, children engage in self-directed projects that allow them to delve deeply into a particular subject of interest. These projects are usually long-term, enabling children to explore the subject at their own pace and uncover new layers of knowledge.
Similarly, in the Reggio Emilia approach, projects play a central role in the learning process. Children initiate projects based on their interests, and teachers provide guidance and support as they investigate and inquire. Through project-based learning, children develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a deep understanding of the topics they explore.
Teachers as Facilitators: Nurturing Lifelong Learners
In both the Reggio Emilia and Montessori settings, teachers assume the role of facilitators rather than authoritative figures. They observe and understand each child’s unique learning style, interests, and strengths, tailoring their approach to suit individual needs. This student-centered approach fosters a love for learning and encourages children to become active and independent learners.
Teachers in Reggio Emilia-inspired classrooms document the learning journey of each child, which allows them to gain insights into the child’s progress and interests. In Montessori, teachers also maintain detailed records of a child’s development and accomplishments, providing valuable feedback to parents and guiding the child’s educational path accordingly.
Embracing Diversity and Building Community
Both the Reggio Emilio and Montessori philosophies emphasize the importance of creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment. In Montessori classrooms, children from different age groups often share the same learning space, promoting a sense of community and fostering collaboration between peers. Similarly, the Reggio Emilia approach encourages collaboration among children and emphasizes the significance of building a strong sense of community within the classroom.
At Ruamrudee International School (RIS), the implementation of the Emilio Reggio approach aligns well with the school’s commitment to diversity and internationalism. RIS celebrates its students’ cultural backgrounds, creating a supportive and respectful atmosphere that values different perspectives and experiences.
Reggio Emilio, Similarity to Montessori at Ruamrudee International School
At Ruamrudee International School (RIS), the Emilio Reggio approach is skillfully integrated into the curriculum, making it an attractive choice for parents seeking an alternative to Montessori education. The school’s Reggio Emilia-inspired classrooms offer an engaging and stimulating environment where children are encouraged to explore, create, and collaborate.
RIS follows the principles of the Reggio Emilio approach, valuing the child as an active participant in their learning journey. Just like in Montessori classrooms, RIS students have the freedom to choose activities based on their interests, and teachers act as facilitators, guiding their exploration.
Project-based learning is at the heart of RIS’s educational approach, allowing students