My husband and I are both attorneys (well at the time I was, but that’s another story). We push paper both actual and virtual. All day. Every day. So, when I showed up and a not-so-open open house at my boys’ now previous preschool and LG’s supposed future teacher showed me the “books the children will be working through” in pre-K 3, it took all I could do to not either run for the door or stage a mutiny. “Parents unite” and “free the children” I shouted in my head, but as I scanned the room none of the other parents looked like they were ready to overthrow the cute little teacher with a natural “Bumpits” and ponytail. My experience with the school up until that point had been great. I guess age three is when the owner decided that children should begin preparing for college and it appears some parents are just fine with that. Not me.
I was walking through the parking lot thinking no way was I sending my kids there next year when it hit me. It was late. Like February late. Too late to go switching preschools. Where could I get in? Panic!
Like so many other moms I know, I began the Great Preschool Hunt. You know, the annoying search for the best preschool within an hour of your home. It’s the time in your life when you quiz total strangers about where their kids go to school, whether they “like” it, and how much it costs, “if you don’t mind me asking.”
During the Great Preschool Hunt I heard about a school in the next town that was an “international preschool” whatever that was. I wanted to know more, I immediately went to the school’s website and was very impressed. The website didn’t have a photo of a stack of workbooks and kids taped to chairs on the home page, so it looked better than what I had. I called the next day and heard the dreaded words, “wait list.” Somehow, I talked my way into a tour. It was on the tour that I first heard about the Reggio Emilia method of teaching. I liked what I heard and began a campaign of annoyance until the owner let my kids in the school. I’m glad I did.
Since then, I’ve come to realize that my kids go to a really fine preschool. It isn’t just the setting, which is cute enough, but it’s really the method that I’m in love with. After noticing some significant differences with traditional preschools, I started researching Reggio Emilia in earnest. Now, I’m going to try to share a little about it in a multi-part post. Your kids don’t have to go to a Reggio Emilia school for you to get something out of the method. If you are interested in Reggio Emilia, keep reading. If not, read about something else. That’s the Reggio way!