Teaching from the Heart: Darla Conkey Myers and Reggio Emilia.

“Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children do, and then, if you have understood well, perhaps teaching will be different from before.”
Loris Malaguzzi

Darla Conkey Meyers is a humble genius, preferring to bring the totality of her own creativity and understanding  young children to cultivate the environment for her own students rather than seeking to spread her brilliance to others.  Through her blog and Facebook posts, she quietly documents her daily life in the classroom,  sharing her creations with those who are blessed to witness her  loving and generative classroom environment.

Working as a public school kindergarten teacher in Ohio, Darla Conkey Meyers has created her own version of a Reggio Emilia haven for herself and her students.  Her Facebook post yesterday described her preparation for the coming year, (photo above) but the depth of her approach is carefully and lovingly documented in her blog, http://mrsmyerskindergarten.blogspot.com/ .

I have been following her blog for several years now, and never cease to be amazed and inspired by her work, day in and day out, as she strives to bring the best to her students based on the Reggio Emilia model of education.

Desiring to revitalize the human capacity for good after totalitarian destruction of Italy during World War II, Loris Malaguzzi and the people of Reggio Emilia, began a revolution in education of  young children. Today, Reggio Emilia preschools stand as the markers of an approach to education that foster democratic goals and develop deep appreciation for beauty in the world through compassionate inquiry.  What started as a preschool endeavor has spread world-wide and has become one of a group of educational models that reflect respect for the world of young children and their learning.

Some key tenets of the approach are: a scientific view of the world, the desire to understand academic relationships and human issues, and the willingness to engage in solving problems by viewing them through artistic media.  The Reggio approach demonstrates the appreciation of various perspectives and points of view as ideas are tested and demonstrated.  The ability to see things with an open mind and from multiple perspectives develops global thinkers whom we hope will one day solve the problems of their world.

We need citizens who display perseverance, compassion, and curiosity.  Reggio-inspired approaches offer one path to developing strong critical thinkers and compassionate problem-solvers. (To learn more about Reggio Emilia and the approach to learning, read The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation, 3rd Edition.) If you are new to “Reggio,” hold on to your hat.  You are in for a delightful ride!



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