Reggio Emilia classrooms paint a perfect picture as to how classrooms should be set up. They focus mainly on creating a space meant for learning and inspiring. It is clear there are many conversations and thought processes that go into creating and designing a Reggio Emilia classroom centre. The article states “even though we want a varied environment based on student interests and needs, and work we still need an environment that when looked at resembles at school and learning” (Ceppi and Zini, 1998, p.36).
One aspect of the classroom that I really enjoy is the concept of having an inside/ outside relationship. Students are very interested in nature, animals and the environment, to keep them closed indoors in a stuffy classroom is against anything Reggio Emilia. Students should be able to freely and interchangeably learn from both the classroom and the outdoors. The classroom should be a place that “senses” what is happening outside (Ceppi and Zini, 1998, p.41). The students should be able to see what seasons we are in, to witness birds and little creatures that scurry to and from the school yard.
The article gives great suggestions as to how to incorporate an inside and outside relationship in the classroom. For example, having a “filter space” a place that signifies leaving and entering the indoors or outdoors, like a verandah or a porch. A covered porch would be ideal so the students can be shaded from the sun if they wanted. I also picture the students having the opportunity to learn from the rain by sitting and watching under the porch. It would also be important to include some kid of courtyard or conservatory to plant flowers and vegetation. In the perfect situation I would love to organize some kind of vegetable garden and teach the students the importance of care and maintenance.
In class we had the opportunity to draw and create the perfect Reggio Emilia Early Childhood classroom. I was interested in what my classmates came up with. It was so detailed we even thought of scents of essential oil we would use in the classroom to invite creativity. Even though were are not in Italy, but rather London Ontario, I have seen some improvements within our schools to allow outdoor education. Outdoors seating areas are being built in school yards, gardens are modified, more funding for field trips. I hope that when I teach early childhood education will will have the opportunity to learn and get outdoors as much as possible.
Ceppi, G. and Zini, M. (Eds.). (1998). Children, spaces, relations: Metaproject for an environment for young children. Milan: Reggio Children and Domus Academy Research Center. Chapter 1 (keywords) + pp. 114-120.