In Reggio Emilia classrooms and Reggio Emilia inspired spaces educators speak of three teachers: parents, classroom teachers and the school environment.
The educators of Reggio Emilia view the school as a living organism. A place of shared relationships among the children, the teachers, and the parents. The school produces for the adults, but above all for the children, a feeling of belonging in a world that is alive, welcoming and authentic. (Malaguzzi, 1994, p.58)
Keeping this ultimate goal in mind . . .
In my new classroom, I have been striving to clean out enough to make the space fit my teaching style, while also saving some of the fantastic materials that were there already. I have also been working on making the space somewhat of an amalgam of Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio-Emilia inspired spaces.
Here are a few photos of what the classroom looked like when I arrived. It was very colorful, vibrant, and full of exciting materials.
The problem was that the materials were not my own so I wasn't comfortable with them. I needed mostly my things along with a few of the previous teacher's things, to get the year started. With the blessing of my new school, I cleaned out, reorganized, and began afresh. I stored some of the old items for later use, and brought out some of my old favorites.
I used my natural materials, Waldorf-inspired items whenever I felt it was appropriate.
I have some Montessori practical life exercises, and some Montessori math and language materials.
And some (hopefully) invitingly displayed art materials, ready for Reggio-Emilia inspired project work. I also have a fabulous magnetic board in the block area ready for building project work! It is to the right of the plain wooden blocks, on the wall. It is 8 feet tall! WOW!
and dear readers, the best thing of all is that my new classroom HAS A SINK!!!!!!
So I have 6 more days until school starts, but I have a few things ready to go! What do you think?