• 폰트크기작게
  • 폰트크기크게
  • TTS
  • 단어장
  • 기사스크립
  • SNS
2017-10-10 18:09
By Stacy Molnar



When babies are born, they start playing instinctively. During this play process, they face situations and make decisions by themselves, experiencing various challenges and even failures, but gaining accomplishments, independence and perseverance. These are some of the reasons why adults need to create a sound environment for children to play.

Recently, I attended an international study group in the small city of Reggio Emilia, Italy. At the schools, the children enjoyed carefully planned play activities inside and outside of the classroom. The teachers and children utilized many things in nature as materials in developing new play activities. Most importantly, the teachers focused on the children’s interests during the classes by regarding them as capable, smart, active and curious individuals and learners. The children constructed their own body of knowledge from a carefully planned curriculum that engaged and built upon their current understanding.

This educational philosophy stems from the efforts of the townspeople of Reggio Emilia. After World War II, teachers, parents, women activists, administrators and educators gathered together and created this educational philosophy, emphasizing the bond between schools, families and communities. The core of the Reggio Emilia approach is learning from experience. Children learn from various situations and experiences, such as trials and errors, conflicts, reconciliations and associations with their friends. This approach enable lessons and other important information to remain longer in children’s memory and become a foundation for their life.

The role of teachers, which is to facilitate the children’s ability to articulate what they know and what they want to learn, is also important. Teachers help children communicate with their peers in the process of forming and sustaining relationships and to perform meaningful activities by themselves. Teachers also document children’s milestones to understand children’s learning and interests over time.

The role of the classroom environment, which is considered children’s “third teacher,” is also important. The learning environment should be designed as nature-friendly and sensible by using various materials, utilizing natural light and exhibiting children’s works so as to stimulate their creativity and curiosity. As suggested by Reggio Emilia teachers and other researchers, children learn more effectively when they can use a wide variety of materials in a wide range of activities and in cooperation with adults, who encourage them to ask good questions.

As the head of the elementary school at St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju, I am inspired by this approach for our early childhood curriculum. In the school, which opens this month, I look forward to children being enthusiastic, curious and brave explorers and investigators in their own learning the setting of the wonderful natural environment of Jeju.

In this school, children will be encouraged to play with their peers in a natural environment that is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, a philosophy that allows students to follow their own curiosities and passions, learn strong communication skills with friends and adults, and practice conflict resolution skills while engaging in various activities.

It is important for parents and families to continue discussions with their children at home and to play with their children. Parents should try and create an enjoyable environment for play and other learning activities at home, as doing so will allow for happier children who believe that it is possible to reach their dreams.


The writer is the head of the elementary school at St. Johnsbury Academy, Jeju.


  • 폰트크기작게
  • 폰트크기크게
  • TTS
  • 단어장
  • 기사스크립
  • SNS