Reflecting on Reggio: An evaluation of design intent in an early childhood learning environment
You, Hannah, Osborne, Lindy, & Franz, Jill (2015) Reflecting on Reggio: An evaluation of design intent in an early childhood learning environment. In Creative Engagements: Thinking with Children, 14-16 March 2014, Prague, Czech Republic.
Reggio Emilia is an educational philosophy that encourages teachers, students and their parents to collaborate and actively engage with the environment. This study investigates how the Reggio Emilia design approach was translated architecturally for a kindergarten in an Australian context, and provides insights into the operation of this Reggio kindergarten and the impact that it is now having on the occupants. It evaluates the original architectural design intent of the Reggio Emilia early childhood learning environment against its spatial provision. The relationship that the Reggio Emilia approach facilitates between students and the environment, and the contribution that this approach has on their learning, are also explored. Several key themes emerging from the Reggio values were identified in the literature. These were then used to inform an exploration of the kindergarten spaces and places.. Architects, teachers and a sustainability manager of the kindergarten were interviewed with their experiences constituting the primary data of this study. Using a Grounded Theory methodology, systematic data coding and analysis were then conducted. Themes and concepts that emerged from this process include: differing interpretations of the Reggio Emilia philosophy; motivations for neglect of traditional external structures and play equipment; the impact of education for sustainability; and the positive effects that Reggio Emilia is having on the rest of the institution’s development.
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