After a week-long study tour at the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre in Reggio Emilia, we returned with excitement and deeper layers of understanding of the Reggio-inspired Approach and how we can use this understanding to improve our program. We are incredibly motivated to share our knowledge with you and to map out the philosophy we continue to develop at Atelier Kids as we prepare for our opening in Fall 2018. We have narrowed down the three most salient points we came away with and how they most directly apply to you, the families who are enrolling at Atelier Kids childcare centre in Toronto.
Part 1 of 3: The Image of the Child
“It’s necessary that we believe that the child is very intelligent, that the child is strong and beautiful and has very ambitious desires and requests. This is the image of the child that we need to hold. Those who have the image of the child as fragile, incomplete, weak, made of glass gain something from this belief only for themselves. We don’t need that as an image of children”. — Loris Malaguzzi
Children are born with an innate ability to see the world with amazement. At Atelier Kids Early Learning and Care we share this amazement, curiosity, and joy that your children possess, and it’s an integral part of how we learn together, by being mindful and present.
“I wonder how many shades of blue are in the sky?” — Violet,age 3
“Why does my blanket make me feel so cozy?” — Grayson, age 3
“I love being human, but sometimes I wish I were a fairy” — Greta, age 4
How we learn begins with how we view the child. If we see children as empty vessels which need to be filled with information, then there is little room for their own intuitive voice. However, Atelier Kids in High Park believes each child is born creative, intuitive, resourceful, and with a strong potential for development from a very young age. We acknowledge that each child has a voice, possesses wisdom, and provides insights to share.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” — Albert Einstein
At Atelier Kids, we stress creativity where you imagine, dream, consider possibilities and feel inspired. When we are bound by too much structure and weighed down by expectations of what to think and do, the capacity to exercise our creative mind is limited. We encourage the children to explore, get messy, and consider various options and opportunities. Together, we reflect on what was learned and what was meaningful, thereby strengthening our critical thinking mind and our capacity to be innovative and imaginative while observing our own growth.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda
- Honouring a child’s intuition may be much more important in the life of a child than we realize. Intuition alerts us to danger, provides guidance in decision-making, and even helps us problem solve with the ability to jump quickly to the solution–bypassing rational, linear steps. For these reasons, and so many more, Atelier Kids Toronto daycare values a clear connection to the child’s inner compass and aims to protect it from being doubted because of the judgment of another or by one’s own fear of looking foolish.
“The wider the range of possibilities you offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences. You must widen the range of topics and goals, the types of situations you offer and their degree of structure, the kinds and combinations of resources and materials, and the possible interactions with things, peers, and adults.” — Loris Malaguzzi
- By viewing the child as resourceful, Atelier Kids Early Learning and Care holds them at a higher esteem to aide in their growth and development with clarity and confidence. An attitude of resourcefulness inspires out-of-the-box thinking and the ability to visualize all the possible ways to achieve what you desire. Resourcefulness places you a cut above the rest. We hold the image of the child as one of a resourceful researcher on their path to preparedness for the kinder years. We believe that great communication, authentic relationships, and the right physical environment lead to happy, confident, resourceful learners.
The image of the child is a central focus of our Atelier Kids Reggio-inspired philosophy, regarding children as the dynamic, insightful, capable contributors that they are: unknowingly mindful and present. As adults, it doesn’t take long before we lose this sense of presence and wonder. Wouldn’t it be great to foster that skill of letting go, losing the need to have certainty and instead just wonder? Being more “childlike” and upholding the image of the child as our wondrous self! Acknowledge the wonder that is you, the wonder that is your child–the wonder that is all children.