How does this program differ from other prep school programs ?

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Two of the prominent features that the Reggio-Emilia school philosophy emphasizes are the natural environment and the project approach. The project approach places the student, rather than the teacher, at the center of the learning process. It views students as co-creators of their education rather than empty vessels to be filled with the right information. With the project approach, instead of teaching from a predetermined lesson plan, teachers engage with the children in their play to better understand their interests. When a question or interest arises from the children, the teacher helps students explore the topic more deeply by asking questions and by providing relevant materials and activities. Using natural materials to construct the learning environment is another key aspect to Reggio-Emilia. Instead of coloring in a picture of a tree, children might go on a nature walk to collect sticks and leaves, then return to the classroom and make a tree collage by gluing what they've collected onto construction paper. Use of the natural environment extends beyond just materials and overlaps with the project approach. Members of the community with expertise in an aspect of a project are often invited to the school to share their knowledge with the children. The Reggio-Emilia philosophy aims to empower and engage each child in her/his own learning process. I believe that students learn and retain more when they have a personal investment and passion for the material. I believe the strategies used by Reggio-Emilia can very effectively foster these attitudes toward learning, and I believe that such attitudes increase the ability of a child to master school-readiness skills.

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