SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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The Maramotti infant and toddler center and preschool was built specifically to enhance the principles of Reggio Emilia. Full of light, and constructed with exploration and play areas, the school fosters creativity and experimentation. Photos by Wyatt Wade. ued; and they create an archive that traces the history of the school. Atelierista and Atelier A teacher with a background in the visual arts works closely with the other teachers and children in every pre-primary school and visits the infant/toddler centers. This teacher, who works in a special workshop or studio known as an atelier, is called an atelierista. The atelier contains a great variety of tools and resource materials, along with records of past projects and experiences. What is done with the materials and media is not regarded as art per se, because in the view of Reggio educators, the children's use of many media is not a separate part of the curriculum but an inseparable, integral part of the whole cognitive/symbolic expression involved in the process of learning. Through time, the materials and work of the atelier enters into all the classrooms through the setting up of "mini-ateliers," as teachers and atelierista learn to work in very connected ways. Projects Projects provide the narrative and structure to children and teachers' learning experiences. They are based on the strong conviction that learning by doing is of great importance and that to discuss in groups and to revisit ideas and experiences is essential to gain better understanding and to learn. Projects may start either from a chance event, an idea, or problem posed by one or more children, or a problem initiated directly by teachers. These projects can last from a few days to several months. Educators in Reggio Emilia have no intention of suggesting that their program should be looked at as a model to be copied in other countries; rather, they consider their work as an educational experience that consists of reflection on theory, practice, and further careful reflection in a program that is continuously renewed and readjusted. Considering the enormous interest that educators show in the work being done in the Reggio schools, they suggest that teachers and parents in each school—any school, anywhere—could reflect on these ideas in their own context, keeping in focus always the relationships and learning that are in process locally to examine needs and strengths, thus finding possible ways to construct change. Excerpted from Insights and Inspirations from Reggio Emilia: Stories of Teachers and Children from North America, edited by Lella Gandini, Susan Etheridge, and Lynn Hill (Davis Publications, 2008).

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