The title of this post is also the title of an incredible professional learning opportunity for educators to be hosted by Sabot at Stony Point, a PK-8 independent school in Richmond, VA.
The title is actually a little misleading, as the Reggio Approach is not “new.” A recent piece in The Atlantic does a pretty good job of describing the history of this progressive approach to education.
Born out of a desire to provide children with an enriching environment, the Reggio schools came to emphasize art and the beauty of the classroom. Children were encouraged to pursue their own projects and to use materials from nature in their work… More than anything, the schools were designed to bring color and activity into the lives of children of war. Teachers who came to the schools after their founding often brought university educations and a theoretical approach to teaching with them, but when applying their training they became eclectic, drawing on a number of thinkers (Dewey, Vygotsky) and testing their ideas to find a combination that seemed to work for students.
Of particular note and interest to me is the involvement of Dr. Lella Gandini, the United States liaison for the dissemination of the Reggio Emilia approach. Dr. Gandini has written extensively about the Reggio Emilia approach, especially for early childhood education. While the Reggio Approach is typically considered an orientation for early childhood education, the principles of progressive education embodied by the approach are widely applicable to education and learning at all levels. Sabot at Stony Point, the school hosting the event, lives the Reggio Approach from PK-8.
Please consider attending the event described below. It should be a wonderful opportunity to explore a context for teaching practice that may not be new per se, but that may be new to you and others in your community.
[FULL DISCLOSURE: my son attends Sabot at Stony Point. The school stands to generate revenue from this event. But, please know I wouldn't send my child to the school if I didn't strongly believe in the Reggio Approach. Therefore, I would promote this event whether my son's school stood to benefit or not.]