Teaching and Learning: Collaborative Exploration of the Reggio Emilia Approach

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9780130287830: Teaching and Learning: Collaborative Exploration of the Reggio Emilia Approach

The Reggio Emilia approach is reintroduced in this book through rich stories and examples of children's projects that invite readers to examine their personal learning process. It offers innovative ways to meld theory with teaching and action research while considering the professional development of each reader—pre-service, in-service, teacher educator, teacher researcher. Unlike other texts on Reggio Emilia, it considers assessment, cultural diversity, and teaching issues from a U.S. perspective. The place of Reggio Emilia in the United States. Amiable communities for learning. Teacher education: Inquiry teaching and the possibilities for change. Progettazione and documentation: Learning moments among protagonists.

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About the Author:

Victoria R. Fu teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in child development and early childhood education with her colleagues Andy Stremmel and Lynn Hill. She is a professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and serves as a pedagogical consultant at the Child Development Laboratory School. She values learning and teaching as a lifelong endeavor that happens in relationships. Her recent research and writing reflect her philosophy of teaching as inquiry from a social constructivist perspective. She has visited the schools in Reggio Emilia and finds that their philosophy and practice offer possibilities to make meaningful the role of teacher as researcher. As a member of The Lugano-Reggio Teaching Research Collaborative, she is actively engaged in recasting the Reggio Emilia approach to inform teaching in the United States. She has published extensively in professional journals and books, including Affirming Diversity Through Democratic Conversations, which she co-edited with Andy Stremmel.

Lynn T. Hill lives on a farm in Giles County, Virginia, with her husband, two daughters, and several dogs, cats, and horses. Her love of nature contributes to her work as the Studio Teacher for the Virginia Tech Child Development Lab School, where she is also the Director of Curriculum. She also serves as an instructor in the Department of Human Development, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Early Childhood Education. She has been inspired and provoked by the Reggio Emilia approach for over a decade and has been most profoundly affected by the concept of "an education based on relationships." In an attempt to understand and live this concept, she has collaborated on several projects, including The Blue Door Creative Re-Use Center; The Great Duck Pond Project, Blacksburg Middle School's attempt to open a Reggio-inspired program for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders; The Lugano-Reggio Teaching Research Collaborative; a study-abroad tour for Early Childhood Education majors; and several conferences on the approach.

Andrew J. Stremmel is associate professor in Human Development and director of the Child Development Laboratory School at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He received his B.A. in psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1978 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in child development and early childhood education from Purdue University in 1981 and 1989. He is a member of the Academy of Teaching Excellence at Virginia Tech and has taught courses on curriculum and program planning in early childhood education, principles of working with children and parents, perspectives on multiculturalism, and child development theories. His research interests are in the areas of early childhood education, particularly the formation and transformation of pre- and inservice early childhood teachers. He has written on issues of early childhood teacher education, including the application of Vygotsky's theory in early educational settings; diversity and the development of multicultural awareness in teachers; and images of teaching and the role of self. He has also written about intergenerational exchanges between preschool children and older adults. He has co-edited a book with Vickie Fu entitled Affirming Diversity Through Democratic Conversations and is currently working on a curriculum book, Life in the Classroom: Teaching as Inquiry with Inspirations from Reggio Emilia, with Lynn Hill and Vickie Fu.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It is paradoxical that a preface is almost always written after the completion of a book. This one is no exception. We would like to share with you some of our thoughts regarding this book. The three of us worked as a team in putting this volume together. We are good friends and colleagues who really enjoy teaching and learning together and, more often than not, think collaboratively. These sentiments carried us through this project as we wrote and edited the book, sharing responsibilities.

In writing the chapters for this book, we—knowingly or unknowingly—were taking the next leg of our journey together to recast the Reggio Emilia approach to inform practice in the United States. This project created a venue for us to continue our conversations with purpose in a community of "us" who value learning and teaching, multiple perspectives, sharing stories, and conversations that provoke us to understand, to make meaning of our experiences, and to invent. For all of these enticements, we thank our friends who contributed to this book.

We would like to thank Lelia Gandini for her friendship, collegiality, and generosity for her chapter, "The Story and Foundations of the Reggio Emilia Approach." In this chapter, the essential history and philosophy of the schools of Reggio Emilia are provided as a context in which the other chapters are based. We are privileged to hear her voice, one that has a lived knowledge of the Reggio experience.

In this way, her chapter provides a crucial bridge between Reggio Emilia and our experience to recast and reinvent its philosophy in the context of learning and teaching in the United States. Additionally, in the spirit of documentation, her chapter offers the opportunity for us and the reader to revisit and find new meanings and understandings about our work as teacher-researchers.

We would also like to thank the following reviewers: Jane H. Bugnand, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell; Pat Hofbauer, Northwest State Community College (Ohio); Karen Menke Paciorek, Eastern Michigan University; Karen L. Peterson, Washington State University Vancouver; and Colleen K. Randel, University of Texas-Tyler.

We invite you to join our exploration and our conversation. We hope you will share your stories, reflections, and insights with your friends and colleagues, wherever you are, so together we can build amiable communities for learning and teaching.

Vivkie Fu
Andy Stremmel
Lynn Hill

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