- 學苑 (ISSN:13480103)
- vol.872, pp.67-83, 2013-06-01
This paper summarizes information which the authors obtained through literature and on-site inspections of early childhood education in the cities of Reggio Emilia and Pistoia in the Italian Republic, with the aim of obtaining ideas for Japan's early childhood education and training programmes for teachers at Japanese kindergarten and nursery schools, which are in urgent need of reform. The system of early childhood education that began after the Second World War in Reggio Emilia, a city located in northern Italy, is now called the Reggio Emilia Model. Ever since Newsweek described it in 1991 as the best, most innovative and most practical model in the early childhood education category, the Reggio Emilia approach has had a tremendous influence on early childhood education, not only in Europe and the US, but also in Japan. We recently visited sites in the cities of Reggio Emilia and Pistoia that apply the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood care and education, talked directly with teachers and administrators who put it into practice, and discerned that this approach is not an educational method, but rather, a community-wide comprehensive care and education system. The process of reform which has been carried out in the two cities-establishing a care and educational system by identifying the development of the child from age 0 to 6 in a continuous fashion and stressing collaboration with the community, while enhancing teachers' skills through ongoing training programs-is, simply put, the pursuit of the best environment for a child to live in. On the other hand, the outcomes of the dynamic practice of the Reggio Emilia approach show, in a variety of forms, that a child is not just a recipient of assistance and instructions, but that his or her presence has the power to activate the community and support society as a whole.