Creating Intelligent Contexts for Learning: 10 Lessons I Brought Home from Reggio Emilia

Crowd Made of Clay, The Loris Malaguzzi International Center

A few weeks ago, I was invited to join Lorella Lamonaca and her colleagues for a study tour of Reggio Emilia schools.  Planning this trip to Italy was a bit frenzied, as the invitation came on the heels of two quick professional learning sessions that I hosted for Heathcote Elementary School teachers in Scarsdale, New York. This event took place just weeks before their tour was scheduled, and I never imagined what would come out of it.

Make Writing reminds me of Reggio,” Lorella revealed during one of our breaks that weekend, and I felt as if I’d met someone who has always spoken my language.

“It’s Reggio inspired,” I explained, surprised and delighted all at once. Few of the American teachers that I support have an awareness of the Reggio Emilia approach, let alone a passion for it. “My writing studio in Buffalo was Reggio inspired as well. And so are the pop up studios I lead in other schools.”

“Have you ever visited?” she asked, and of course, I hadn’t.

“I know how hard it is to gain approval for a visit,” I explained, and Lorella confirmed this for me.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to join her group when she offered me the opportunity several days later.

I spent five days in Reggio Emilia, attending presentations, participating in dynamic learning experiences, and touring the schools and the recycling center there. I filled two sketchbooks full of notes, left long, rambling updates in the Building Better Writers group, and posted as many photos as I could on Instagram in other social networks as well.

Still, there is no way to capture or share what I experienced there with any real integrity.

Instead, I plan to spend the next several weeks crafting a series of posts that offer reflections on my greatest learning and applications that other teachers might appreciate. All of them have to do with creating intelligent contexts for learning at every level and in every content area.

These are the questions I intend to explore, one post at a time:

I plan to share a new reflection each Friday for the next ten weeks, and if this interests you, I hope you’ll join me in conversation here, on Twitter, or on Facebook. I’m looking forward to reflecting and processing all that I learned with you.

2 Comments

  1. Katie Greene says:

    Thank you, Angela! I’m bursting with ideas and connect with what you’re writing on many levels. I truly need to learn more about this approach, so you’ve got me as an audience member. Keep sharing and I’ll keep listening! Hopefully, someday I will be able to turn-key some of these fascinating Reggio-insprired ideas and build upon what’s already working in the classroom.

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