At Beginnings, we are inspired by the Reggio Approach to early childhood education. This means that we have adapted the teaching styles from Reggio Emilia, Italy to fit into our urban life style here in New York. We follow the interests of the children through listening to and observing them; we provide support while they ask questions and make discoveries about their world; we guide with a gentle hand when it is necessary; and we document their processes as they explore and learn. This is a very fluid system of learning that helps to create "innovative thinkers" instead of just "memorizers."
The Studio is a major component of the Reggio Approach. We consider it to be an extension of the classroom, a place where varied materials and tools are explored and mastered. The Studio resembles a laboratory for experimentation and exploration that extends far beyond the traditional role of an art room in conventional education programs. Here at Beginnings, the Studio is used as a meeting and project room where a specific group of children work together on a particular idea for a certain length of time. Our Studio Program is unique in that we do not have standard schedules for working with the children. Every class and every child will spend time in the Studio, but not necessarily be involved in each project. The work in the Studio ebbs and flows as we follow the interests of the children and the classroom curricula.
Our role as Studio Teachers is to introduce materials and techniques, and to support the children and teachers as they learn and explore together. Sometimes the Studio Teachers work in the Studio with small groups of children, sometimes in the classroom with the children, and sometimes we are behind-the-scenes providing support to the teachers as they work directly with the children.