Letter from Italy: The Reggio Emilia Philosophy

Off to SchoolLower School art teacher Jackie Knipp is spending this semester in Italy on the Riepe Family Sabbatical learning about the Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching. Here is her latest letter home to her Lower School students and colleagues.


Buon giorno mia Gilman famiglia. It has been a very busy time for me in Italy. I am attending school and participating in an International Study Group. There are teachers from 55 countries all over the globe. What fun it is to make new friends and hear their stories!

We are all here for the same reason, to learn about the Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching. The Reggio Approach began after World War II in a town in northern Italy called Reggio Emilia. At this time the first and primary goal of the citizens was to build a school for their young children. After such a great and destructive event, the citizens believed that children were in need of a new way of learning. The assumption was that people form their own personality during the early years of development. And, moreover, children are endowed with a hundred languages. The program is based on the principles of Loris Malaguzzi. He acknowledged teachers as “Professionals of Wonder.” He championed the rights of children to express themselves in a multitude of creative and imaginative ways.

Today I visited the school call Anna Frank. It is named after Ann Frank, a girl who died during World War II. Her opportunity to learn and grow was destroyed in a very brutal and tragic manner. Her rights for an education were taken away. The children of Anna Frank School honor her dreams, wishes, and values. They carry on her inquisitive and inspiring nature.

It is such fun to meet the children and see their school. They are just as enthusiastic, energetic, and excited as our boys in the lower school at Gilman. And their ‘love of learning’ is just as valuable. So many lessons remind me of our myriad of creative, imaginative, hands on learning. I miss all of you. I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.

Ciao! Ciao! Mrs. Knipp

PS – The gelato and pasta are delizioso.


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