Since Reggio Emilia is a less “traditional” classroom model, I want to be sure my child will be prepared for kindergarten. In what ways will he or she be prepared for the next level?
Direct teaching of explicit foundational academic skills is embedded in every activity a child engages with in a Reggio Emilia-inspired classroom. Children are supported and managed by expert teachers who are trained to seize any opportunity to focus a child’s attention on key academic skills that are necessary for his or her success in Pre-K and kindergarten. Simultaneously, teachers encourage habits of mind (persisting, questioning, posing problems, communicating, creating, imagining, and innovating) that will position a child for success in any future classroom and in life.
Are Reggio Emilia-inspired preschools less “structured” than traditional preschools?
Reggio Emilia-inspired classrooms are highly structured, with centers for writing, reading, mathematics, building, and creative play. Instructors are constantly and intentionally thinking, preparing, planning and implementing ideal learning experiences for the children. Our instructors invest significant time into planning and creating a learning environment that does not follow a traditional model. Through their observation and analysis of the choices students make, our teachers purposefully and carefully guide each child in his or her learning journey. There can be an abundance of activity and exploration happening in a single classroom and a casual observer might not immediately notice the intentionality of the individual project areas. Additionally, Preschool students spend a great deal of time in the outdoor classroom, a space designed to encourage exploration, encounters, communication and relationships. The outdoor classroom space and materials are organized with intentionality.
How do teachers track student progress? What measurables are built into the school year?
Teachers keep track of student progress through a digital portfolio system that they constantly update for each student. Parents can opt in to receive regular notifications when items are added to their child’s portfolio. This digital portfolio (inclusive of photo and video footage) creates a timeline that serves as a reference tool for instructors and parents to have productive conversations. Teachers can also use this material to report on the progress of a child and to track and discuss key levels of development (cognitive, language, conceptual, social/emotional, fine and gross motor development) with his or her parent.
How are specials incorporated into the day in a Reggio Emilia-inspired classroom?
Because we are a comprehensive school, teaching Preschool through 12th grade, our Preschool students benefit from a wide scope of opportunities in special areas. Our Preschoolers experience classes with teachers who specialize in areas such as music, art, dance, physical education, and library.
What if my child is not engaged in the activities?
This is rare in a Reggio Emilia-inspired classroom. RPCS teachers are highly qualified instructional leaders whose role it is to guide, support and nurture each child. Teachers see deeply into every child and his or her interests to find the individual path that will engage him or her and lead into the explorations of the day.
How often will I be interacting with my child’s teachers throughout the school year?
As often as you’d like! Ongoing formal and informal dialogue is incredibly important to a successful relationship between family and school. We encourage open dialogue during drop-offs and pick-ups. We hold regularly scheduled conferences, but there are constant opportunities for parent feedback and interaction through the digital portfolio. Parents can pose questions within the portfolio and this provides an opportunity for dialogue about each child’s learning.