As I reflect on our time spent in Reggio Emilia, Italy, I am reminded of the multiple thoughts and feelings that touched my heart and changed me forever as an educator.
As an educator, I try every day to be present with all children and strive for perfection in my work. I offer materials that are very intentional, spend time engaging in conversations with the children, playing with them and building relationships.
What resonated with me during my experience in Reggio Emilia and has stayed with me is that it’s okay to make mistakes! What I have discovered about myself is that I can take risks and think about possibilities and do not always have to have the answers. I now want to live in wonder with the children, and be curious about curiosity. I have learned that important work can be found in the things left unfinished. The learning is in the process and our learning journey is always continuing, never ending.
I was in awe when I witnessed what can be accomplished by fully engaging with children, by just slowing down, listening and letting them take the lead.
“The Amusement Park for Birds” was created and lives at “La Villetta” school in Italy. It was so incredible to see how children, who were just 3, 4 and 5 years of age, created an amusement park for birds, with Ferris wheels, fountains, and a trough leading to a pond.
The educators listened to the children and fully supported their efforts. In doing so, they furthered the children’s interests, and truly fostered early learning, discovery and creativity.
The educators and the children of Reggio reminded me of the importance of living in the moment and suspending my own ideas.
When the children are building tall vertical structures, will I be ok with the risk? Can I live into this?
I want to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone, live in the moment, and see the unexpected…because this is what the children deserve. They deserve to have an educator who is present with them, believes that they are competent and capable, believes in them and their ideas and truly wants to continue to grow along with them…and sometimes this means making mistakes.
Submitted by Tina Thompson, RECE
Preschool Educator, Courtice Program
Tina is pictured here on one of the two well-known lions that guard Market Square in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
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