In December, we revisited one of the four Ignite sessions from the November Inservice that focused on the Action Plan Target: Student-Centered Learning. This month, we’ll revisit BFA preschool teacher Kristie French’s look at FWSU Action Plan Target 3, Flexible Learning Environments, through the Reggio Emilia lens.

In the Reggio Emilia approach, there are three teachers: the teacher, the child…and the environment, as the child sees and experiences it, is viewed as the third teacher.

Ignite Presentation for Inservice 2015

In March of 2015, Kristie, along with other FWSU teachers traveled to Italy to watch this approach in action. Her understandings and applications of this pedagogy shared at the Ignite presentation have implications beyond preschool.  Let’s look back at those ideas.

K french

Kristie: “I like to envision the learning environment like a puzzle, with many pieces…with the pieces not always a perfect fit together, but with a common goal of a complete picture.”


The third teacher, the environment, is flexible.


Kristie: “Students take an active role in shaping their own learning by forming their own questions and taking on the role of researcher along with their teacher. Teachers honor student passion and interest.”


Kristie: “Finding student interest or helping students discover their own interests comes from developing relationships, conversations, and watching how they interact in the environment. Teachers give value to different ways of expression. Teachers value student engagement over convenience.”


Kristie: “Teachers offer many different paths. Teachers take time to look at student work and to document learning as well as explore next steps for future learning.”


Does the pedagogy that Kristie described sound familiar? It should. It is highly reflective of the research on Personalized Learning. As we further explore the tenets of a culture of personalized learning, appreciating the transferability and generalization of these pedagogical practices can bring both clarity and connection to our work.

To further understand how the Reggio Emilia approach can transform schooling beyond preschool, you may be interested in the book Visible Learners: Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in All Schools by Krechevsky, Mardell, Rivard, and Wilson from Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Target 3. Flexible Learning Environments: FWSU maximizes flexible learning environments by redefining the school day, promoting learning experiences that extend
beyond the classroom, and fostering creativity, innovation, and personalized learning opportunities for all.

Indicators of Success: Students engage in answering authentic questions and solving problems in collaborative settings.

Action Step: Increase access to resources for all students.



Linda Keating is the Director of Curriculum at FWSU. She is a regular contributor to the FWSU Blog. You can follow her on Twitter @Educate4ward


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