The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy that inspires students to become life-long learners. It is a movement that has made way for schools filled with questions instead of answers and learning instead of teaching; schools where children are asked what they think and where teachers plan and implement curriculum based on child-initiated activity. It acknowledges children as competent and capable learners that are full of potential and able to communicate with or without words. It is evident that this approach will continue to open doors of endless possibilities for children.

Recognizing that the journey to becoming a life-long learner begins with the awareness of, and appreciation for, curiosity, it was a clear choice for Richland Academy to adopt a Reggio-inspired approach to inquiry learning beginning three years ago. We find that this philosophy better allows us to follow the natural development of children, as well as the close partnerships they share with their parents, teachers, and the environment.

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With not a hint of knowledge about the Reggio Emilia philosophy, I began my journey at Richland Academy on September 13th as the newest member of this welcoming community. From the moment I set off, I instantaneously entered a world of discovery, reflection and amazement: Children communicating with or without words, teachers supporting critical and creative thinking, parents partaking in classroom activities, and signs of nature both inside and outside the classrooms. As the days go by, I am astounded at how congruent the philosophy embraced by the school is to the Chinese Proverb displayed in each classroom: ‘Tell me, and I may forget. Show me, and I might remember. Involve me, and I will understand.’

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