The Salem State University Preschool Program is grounded in the principals of the Reggio Approach. Derived in Reggio Emilia, Italy, the Reggio Approach creates learning conditions that enhance thinking through expressive, communicative, and cognitive languages. Reggio is not a method, but a way of thinking about children, education, and schools.
In keeping with the Reggio philosophy, the Preschool Program believes that children, their families, and society all benefit from high–quality, early-childhood programs and that there is a critical link between a child's early experiences and later successes in life. Children need time to be children and time to experience their childhood. To reach that end, the Salem State Preschool Program provides young children with an environment that encourages active exploration and discovery.
Within the Reggio Approach, teachers act as guides, resources, problem–posers, and partners in learning. Open-ended discussions and long term projects bring together language activities, science, social studies, dramatic play, and artistic expression. The projects are meaningful and relevant to the child's life experiences and designed to assist the child in seeing the interrelationships of concepts and ideas. Projects often arise out of a problem posed children, a child’s experience, or even a chance event. No matter which projects are chosen, they are planned and led in a flexible way by our teachers.
Another important feature of the Reggio Approach is the use of documentation of children's work as it progresses. This serves as an important tool in both the learning and evaluation processes for children, teachers, parents, and even our visitors.
The Preschool philosophy is supported through children’s activities that are structured within a Choice Board Concept, which allows each child to independently identify and select their own activity cards posted on the board.
The Choice Board goals are designed to:
- Give each child the opportunity to select activities independently
- Guide their social development
- Allow the teaching staff to gather information on student skills, interests, and group dynamics