In this webinar on the Reggio Emilia approach, the speaker emphasises the importance of ‘place’ as part of the Reggio Emilia approach. That is, the context in which the school is located.
Every Reggio inspired school first considers this context, and how best to accommodate the quirks or culture of the city, and Avendale is no different. Here is how we are adjusting the core values of the Reggio Emilia approach to suit our context in Hong Kong:
1. The Child at the Centre.
Hong Kong is a place where students are often guided in what they do and learn. Reggio Emilia is very much the opposite, encouraging students to embrace their individuality and express themselves using any one of their ‘100 Languages’.
In practice, this means that teachers at Avendale diversify their classrooms; providing plenty of opportunities for students to explore on their own and in groups. The classrooms constantly change as the students themselves change, rising to serve their interests and developmental needs.
As a city, Hong Kong is known for its limited space. Since open space is a known feature of Reggio Emilia education, Hong Kong’s challenging context has motivated us to be more creative. All of Avendale’s campuses have ample playing space, and multiple opportunities for students to safely explore. The classrooms are purposefully decorated, with students involved in developing their own environments through documentation and ongoing projects.
Challenged by the constraints of Hong Kong, where space is at a premium, each Avendale campus has uses nature in different ways. At our Harmony Gardens campus, we are blessed with a fantastic roof garden on which to explore, while Whampoa and Sai Wan have big windows and use many natural materials in their lessons.
All campuses encourage students to engage with nature by exploring the environment around them, visiting the local park and observing the local people, plants and animals.
4. The Family Community
Reggio Emilia is focused on more than just the school and the pupils. Each student enters into a community of persons, a rich tapestry of different backgrounds and cultures, with families being a central part of that. We are particularly focused on the parents, and the role they can take in their child’s learning. Parents are regularly consulted as we plan the lessons for their child, and are often invited to share in special events with us.
If you’re interested in joining the Avendale family, and experiencing Reggio for yourself in a Hong Kong setting, please feel free to contact us. We offer Pre Nursery and Kindergarten classes and our campuses also host playgroups (offered by our partner, Avendale Education) - providing options for children aged from 6 months through to 6 years of age!
Further reading about Reggio Emilia can be found on the following websites: