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Choosing Education as a Priority

Over the last few days, I have written about classroom management, the Reggio Emilia philosophy and why we do not put education at the forefront of our politics. Today I will share more about Reggio, an Italian municipality that, in its rebuilding after World War II, made education, and specifically the rights of children, its foundational organizing value.

After World War II, Reggio Emilia decided to spend its precious resources in rebuilding its schools. This WAS a phenomenal and bold idea, considering how many buildings, bridges and roads were destroyed in the war.

Italians from Reggio (and some other Italian communities) believe in the “Rights of Children," a position written by its the educational philosopher's founder, Loris Malaguzzi

Malaguzzi states, “children have the right to recognized as the bearers of important rights: individual, social and legal,” “They both carry and construct their own culture and are therefore active participants in the organization of their identity, their autonomy and their capabilities. The construction of this organization takes place through relationships and interactions with peers, adults, ideas and objects, as well as both real and imaginary events of a communicative world.”

It is educators’ and parents’ responsibility to see children as inherently capable.

Classroom management and a commitment to educating children can be inspired by the model set forth, over seventy years ago , by the people of Reggio Emilia, who made the education of your children a priority when they rebuilt after a terrible world war. I do not believe we need a war, or even conflict, to believe passionately that early childhood education is important. We just need to decide that it is.

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