Villa Montessori Offers Reggio-Inspired Program
Hands-on Projects are Creative, Collaborative and Arts and Music Focused
In addition to its authentic Montessori curriculum, Villa Montessori is proud to offer an enriching Reggio-inspired program to enrolled students who are preschool age through sixth grade. Reggio offers a more hands-on, exploratory approach to learning, and focusses on S.T.E.A.M., in particular art and music themes – enabling students to explore their creative side and further develop their curious minds. Villa Montessori is one of only a handful of Montessori schools in the Washington, DC-area to offer this unique learning program.
“Reggio” is short for “Reggio Emelia.” The immersive curriculum was developed by Loris Malaguzzi, the founder and director of the renowned municipal preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. At its core, Reggio encourages educators to see children as competent and capable learners and encourages them to work together to explore and learn. While teachers select the theme for the exploration, they function more as guides and collaborators, allowing the students to drive the action by expressing themselves artistically, in the style and interpretation they choose.
While the Montessori method is more materials and works-oriented; the Reggio-inspired program is project-based and more free-form and expressive in nature. Additionally, Montessori classes are typically focused on math, science and language-arts – while the Reggio-inspired program centers on immersive art and music education, and also draws inspiration from nature. While some teachers at Villa Montessori combine the two curricula throughout the day, the majority separate the two – often focusing on a full Montessori cycle in the morning and Reggio activities in the afternoon. The two philosophies complement each other beautifully, and keep students engaged throughout the day.
Each month at Villa Montessori, we feature an artist and composer of the month as part of our Reggio curriculum. November is a month typically focused on gratitude and Thanksgiving; therefore, we have chosen Modest Mussorgsky as our “Composer of the Month” and have been playing his music throughout our halls. Our “Artist of the Month” for November is Fritz Scholder, a contemporary Native American artist who is best known for his “Indian” series. He liked to combine pop art with abstract expressionism and painted Native Americans in terms of realism versus the traditional romantic images typically seen. Students at Villa Montessori have been painting Eskimo masks as one of their art projects.
Parents also play an important part in our Reggio activities. In October, Vivian Maier was the “Artist of the Month.” Maier, an amateur street photographer, enjoyed capturing people and architecture in black and white photographs. Many parents joined in that exploration and assisted with the various photography activities that occurred in each classroom.
Nature is another important element in Reggio instruction. This fall, Ms. Warren, the Director of our Stone Ridge School, has been taking the younger children on regular nature walks to gather objects to use in their Reggio art projects and science observations.
Overall, students from 12 months to 12 years love expressing their creativity through their Reggio projects at Villa Montessori. Additionally, seeing their projects featured on a class bulletin board each month instills a great sense of pride in these students. From simple exploration of art mediums with the little ones, to science experiments and guitar concerts for the older children – the possibilities for creative expression are endless and infinitely inspiring.
To learn more about Villa Montessori’s Reggio program – please click HERE.