September 27, 2007

Reggio Emilia Preschools Are New York's New Hotness

When I first heard of them a year or so ago, the sense I got that Reggio Emilia preschools were just the less flashy, less rigid, but equally long-established cousin of Montessori. But according to the NY Times' Graham Bowley, they are an art-inspired educational "wildfire" engulfing New York City. [Actually the wildfire quote is from my former Disney colleague Don Burton, so it must be true.The Reggio Emilia programs on the Upper East Side are particularly awesome, so awesome, in fact, that they should take Bowley's kid off the waitlist.

The Garlanded Classroom [nyt]
Previously: The Blue Man Group's new school venture is RE-based.
Maybe it's the gear that's hot: Play+Soft RE toys and furniture are awesome.


We studied Reggio Emilia last year in my child development theorists class and it was by far one of my favorite classroom adaptations. I love the idea of the children's art being the main theme in the room. I love the bright, beautiful colors, the openness, the bringing in of nature and all that it incorporates. I love the idea of child directed learning as well. Don't get me wrong, I love montessori too, it would probably be my first choice since we don't have Reggio here in Kentucky but I do think that the Reggio classrooms offer quite a different atmosphere.

I was amazed to look at the pictures of some of the genuine reggio classrooms in Italy. The ones here are a bit different too... and never have I seen more amazing art.

I designed a Reggio Emilia Childcare Center in Pittsburgh years and years ago. It remains one of my favorite projects in my 14 year career as an architect and designer. The program is truly outstanding. The cost of creating a beautiful space and properly training the teachers is outrageous, it's true, but the experience for your kids, if you can afford it, is the ultimate in early childhood education.

I just read that even Smarter Toddler Nursery and Preschool is adapting their curriculum to be for Reggio-friendly. Many of the preschool teachers and management have taken Reggio training courses.

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