A comparative review of a reggio emilia inspired program for infants and toddlers

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University of Alabama Libraries

The Reggio Emilia approach is a social constructivist method that fosters children’s creative development through organized focus on symbolic representations (Edwards et al., 2012). This study compared the physical environments and teacher-child interactions in infant and toddler classrooms in a Reggio Emilia Inspired Program (RI) to those of a matched non-Reggio Emilia Inspired Program (NRI). A brief history of the RI approach and the founder, Loris Malaguzzi, key child development theorists, and key teaching principles and strategies of the RI paradigm are reviewed. A RI and a non-RI program, both NAEYC accredited, were compared for quality of teacher-child interactions, classroom environment, children’s behaviors, and development using standardized measures. Participants were two teacher (one RI infant and one RI toddler) and their children. With school closures due to COVID-19, data collection was stopped early at both sites. The findings are presented as a feasibility study. The ITERS-3 was used to assess the classroom environments of the two programs (RI and NRI). Analysis of the ITERS-3 scores failed to reveal that the RI approach promoted a more optimal classroom environment for infants’ and toddler’s learning than the NRI approach. However, closer examination conducted by videotaping an activity in the classroom revealed high-quality teacher-child interactions for both the RI infant and toddler classroom. Interviews in the RI program depicted teachers who view their children as an equal part of the classroom supporting the RI principle of the Image of the Child. This study contributes to the literature on RI programs and raises new questions related to the sensitivity of environmental scales in assessing creative, non-structured, reflexive program.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Early childhood education, Behavioral sciences