Publisher: Edukacja Elementarna w Teorii i Praktyce
Journal: Elementary Education in Theory and Practice
Subjects: Education, preschool; Reggio Emilia; parents; participation; social management; schoolfamily partnership, pedagogika, przedszkole; Reggio Emilia; rodzice; partycypacja; społeczne zarządzanie; partnerstwo edukacyjne
The Municipal Infant-toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, are educational projects based on the active participation of all of the protagonists (children, teachers, and parents) involved in the educational process. The fundamental principle which defines preschool in Reggio Emilia is participation, which is, however, understood far wider than only as taking part in something. It means being a part, jointly building the identity of an institution for small children through dialogue, discussion, and the exchange of various points of view. This work reconstructs the idea of participation and shows how it is realized in educational practice. It emphasizes, most of all, the perspective of parents, who are recognized as competent partners of teachers in the process of creating and developing the concept of early childhood education. Such an approach is related with various forms of family participation in the daily life of preschool. The idea of parents’ participation is realized, among other things, in the social manner of managing a preschool, which is demonstrated by the functioning of a special City and Childhood Council (Consiglio Infanzia Città) in each centre. The council is responsible not only for administrative matters but, what is extremely important, also for developing the educational project in Reggio Emilia. Its overriding task is to promote the idea of participation, co-responsibility for managing the centre, exchange of information, and discussion on issues of the preschool. The alliance between teachers and parents, which eliminates the asymmetric nature of this relationship, is based on mutual acceptance and respect for different experiences and is an essential condition for experiencing participation by children themselves.
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