In 2012 Bowen Children’s Centre hired a consultant to help staff on their personal and team journey into the world of Reggio Emilia – this journey began with a series of workshops. Our elementary school principal asked if she and some of the primary staff could join us and so began our shared passion about the Reggio approach to education and the bridge for families and children in our community from preschool to kindergarten and beyond. At the conclusion of the workshops, we all decided that we wanted to continue learning together by professional collaboration with a Reggio inspired focus starting with the books of Louise Caldwell.
This journey of administrators, early childhood educators and primary teachers has been amazing for us all and, through the lens of Reggio philosophy and reflection together, we have deepened our understanding of:
- The image of the child and how it is the foundation of our work as educators
- The role of the environment as a teacher
- The power of process not product
- Habits of mind: provocations, interests of the child, deepening our questions, and creating space for learning to happen
- Early Learning Framework and it’s relevance to primary education
For the elementary teachers this journey was new and has profoundly changed their teaching, image of the child and the classroom settings. It has also been a deepening of our practices at the Children’s Centre and brought a new recognition and validity to the work we do in early childhood. Our journey has also bridged early childhood and primary education for families in our community and created a sense of ease and familiarity in bridging to the “big” school.
Moving forward we will continue our Book Club, using the time to also reflect on our work in the classrooms. With the children’s input, we are writing a “Welcome to Kindergarten” book for families and we will also be proposing a community project for the children: a forest project along the path bridging Bowen Island Community School and the Bowen Children’s Centre that visibly and artistically links the children and families of both facilities.
We are indebted to the Vancouver Reggio Consortium for supporting this learning journey and to the vision of our past principal, Jennifer Pardee, whose enthusiasm, passion as well as recognition and support of the Reggio inspired approach to education always spurred us forward.