Inspired by Italian Approaches to Early Childhood Education
We find inspiration in the early childhood schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Reggio Emilia schools are recognized worldwide for their care of young children and their commitment to excellence. In describing the early childhood schools in Reggio Emilia, noted psychologist and theorist Howard Gardner says “The Reggio system...is a collection of schools for young children in which each child's intellectual, emotional, social, and moral potentials are carefully cultivated and guided. The principal educational vehicle involves youngsters in long-term engrossing projects, which are carried out in beautiful, healthy, love-filled settings...Reggio epitomizes for me an education that is effective and humane; its students undergo a sustained apprenticeship in humanity, one which may last a lifetime.”
Smith College offers a number of year-long internships at the Pistoia Early Childhood Education Practicum, where the philosophy and practice of the early childhood schools are similar to those of Reggio Emilia.
Loris Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach. His words reflect the foundation of our curriculum: “The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences. We must widen the range of topics and goals, the types of situations we offer and their degree of structure, the kinds and combinations of resources and materials, and the possible interactions with things, peers, and adults.”
Visit the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) website for more information.
Our curriculum recognizes the importance of relationships for the well-being of young children. Within the context of supportive relationships, the curriculum emphasizes child-initiated problem-solving, long-term investigations, and prosocial behavior. Teachers are constantly trying to understand and consider what the children know about their world and help them to form new hypotheses through ongoing exploration of a subject. We help children develop a love of learning as they come to appreciate themselves as learners. The materials in the classrooms reflect our interest in the natural world and recycled materials.
To learn more about long-term projects and the curriculum at Fort HIll, please visit our Gallery Projects site.
We strongly support children in acquiring a set of fundamental concepts and skills as well as the habits of mind and heart that enable them to understand and operate in their world as effective problem-solvers and responsible community members.
An excerpt from our Student Handbook details our approach to guidance, interactions and the environment.