The UM-Dearborn ECEC program philosophy is adopted from the Reggio Emilia constructivist teaching philosophy. The main philosophy, basis and benefit of the Reggio Emilia approach is a genuine respect for children's ideas and theories. It is designed to educate the whole child physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, linguistically and aesthetically. It is based upon the research of leading psychologists and educators such as Piaget, Erikson and Vygotsky.
Our program utilizes the long-term inquiry based project approach as inspired by Reggio Emilia in early childhood programs. It addresses the needs of the developing child and provides many educational opportunities. Another key principle is the concept of time. We often call it following children's sense of rhythm. Children are given an ample amount of time to concentrate on the specific curriculum. Thus, teachers offer children multiple opportunities for the construction of knowledge and allow children to revisit their ideas and understand concepts from various perspectives in order to deepen their understanding.
Moreover, our school focuses on "education based on relationships". This is a widely known and valued aspect of the Reggio inspired approach. By putting children together in small groups with heavy emphasis on communication, the overall education focuses each child in relation to others, and seeks to promote social interaction and development with other children, family, teachers, society and the environment.
The role of the teacher is to carefully listen, observe, document and analyze each individual child's comments and questions. From there, we prepare specific materials and carefully plan curriculum and questions so that the children can reflect upon their own ideas, fully explore them, and develop new questions in order to learn increasingly complex concepts in depth.