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Comparison Reggioemilia and Montessori

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| Your Selected approach: Montessori | Reggio Emilia Approach | Identify how each component is similar or different between the two approaches. | Teacher’s Role in Supporting | 1. Cognitive Development | 1. Here teacher helps children in thinking logically, comparing, contrasting and matching patterns. Teacher takes care of phonological development and language acquisition of child by involving them in singing, reading, talking and playing with the sound of words. 2. Teacher keeps educational materials around the children to invoke their sensory organs and generate curiosity in them. And this curiosity takes them toward their cognitive development. 3. Pupils are kept engaged in puzzles and play. Puzzles develop problem solving skill in children. They also learn sequence and organization. While solving puzzles children come up with questions as how it can be organized further? This way they construct knowledge and lead toward cognitive development. 4. Some senior Montessori teachers are also expected to design their own material to educate and help children in their cognitive development. | 1. Here teacher helps children to recognize concepts, thoughts and theories to generate new meaning. 2. Teacher gives many opportunities to child for exploration and cognitive development such as presentation of concepts in variety of ways like art, music, shadow play. 3. In Reggio Emilia model teacher keeps open ended material around children. Things which can be self defining are emphasized more by Reggio Emilia teachers. Children manipulate them, give them new meaning and through all these they progress toward their cognitive development. 4. In Reggio Emilia model teacher arranges opportunities for young children to keep them involved in debates and dialogues in constructive and non violent way with others. This way child develops problem solving skills, decision making skills, and in this process they develop their thinking ability which finally leads toward their mental development i.e. Cognitive development. It also helps in language development. | 1. In both the models teacher takes great care of proper environment setting to make the child curious about things around and this curiosity finally leads toward their cognitive development. 2. In Reggio Emilia along with environment setting teacher also creates opportunities to involve children in dialogues and debates. It helps in developing thinking process in child opening path toward cognitive development. So dialogues and debates for problem solving are more emphasized in Reggio Emilia than Montessori. | 2. Language Development | 1. In Montessori model teachers gives many opportunities to child for language development in a systematic way. Oral and written language is emphasized and language is considered to be the primary tool for making relationship with each other. Teacher uses different approaches to make children learn letters and phonetics.E.g. use of sandpaper to make children familiarize with alphabet letters. And once the teacher feels that the child is familiarized with letters (goal of one level achieved among many levels) then they move toward phonetics (second level goal). But they always keep child’s interest in mind while planning for steps. If the child does not find sand paper interesting then the duty of teacher is to present some other thing to the child who can interest him more to explore and learn. 2. Children is given as much time he needs and as much opportunity he needs to explore and learn. Once he reaches the goal at one level, teacher try to move him to the next level by providing opportunities keeping child‘s interest in mind. | 1. Here teacher gives enormous opportunity to child to represent their hypothesis and concept through symbolic language. 2. In Reggio Emilia model teachers keeps children involved in various activities through which they can speak their mind. Teacher provides possibilities to use symbolic language to represent thoughts and hypothesis. 3. Children are kept involved in dramatic play, painting, sculpture, music etc. children represent their ideas and feeling symbolically through painting (e.g. if the child is happy he would like to use bright colors), using words and expressions in dramatic play. And finally systematic combination and exploration of these activities opens avenues for language development in child. 4. Teacher cares for child’s interest and they don’t provide focused instruction in reading and writing. 5. Teachers believe in emergent literacy as children memorize and manipulate their ideas and communicate to others. 6. Field trips are arranged for children which provide them opportunities to look at the things of their interest. They ask questions about that. Teacher pay close attention to the question asked and arranges for future possibilities to explore more. These experiences help the children to pose hypothesis and construct knowledge leading toward cognitive development. | In both the approaches child is the main focus for teacher while designing the curriculum. Teacher gives needed time to child to develop their language competency. But here the differences are: 1. In Reggio Emilia teacher gives more emphasis on the use of symbolic language to express and speak children’s mind but it is little more formal in Montessori approach where main focus is given towards formal development of language in children using letters and alphabet. 2. In Reggio Emilia there is a purposeful progression toward language development but this progression is not planned by the teacher. Whereas in Montessori model sequential and planned steps are followed by the teacher. 3. In Montessori approach teacher provides focused instruction for reading and writing. But it is not the same in Reggio Emilia. In Reggio Emilia it is completely emergent following the child’s interest and there is no pre defined scope and stepwise progression toward language development. | 3. Creative Development | 1. One of the important aspects of education is to promote creative process within the child. In Montessori schools teacher continuously protects the creative process within the child. 2. Teacher’s role is twofold : a. They plan and prepare the environment around the child to support the provocation of creativity within him. b. They give guidance and create opportunity for the child to link him to this environment. 3. Teacher provides the child with prerequisite of creative process. e.g. if teacher wants the child to learn painting, then teacher keeps painting brush and canvas around the child to make the child feel like to experiment with brush and paint. So here the prerequisite for the creative process was brush. So it is the responsibility of the teacher, to plan and provide the child with purposeful material and environment. 4. Teacher carefully observes child’s work and asks questions to child about their work. Also they maintain portfolio of their work to understand their creative thinking and plan for further steps to help him develop more. 5. The Montessori approach help in the development of creativity not only by providing materials for the child to use in their creative exploration , but it also provides conditions to help the child to change in creative person. 6. Teacher keeps pupil engaged in music, art, storytelling, movement and drama etc. | 1. Creativity is the hallmark of Reggio Emilia approach. Use of ‘Art’ is very much emphasized and practiced by Reggio Emilia teachers to develop creativity in the child. 2. In this approach teacher is more of a kind of ‘art balancer’. Teacher plans as how the classroom can be changed to become a medium for emerging creativity within the child. 3. Schools in Reggio Emilia have innovative staffing structure. They have an ‘art’ teacher in the center who works closely with all classroom teachers. 4. Teacher offers children through the process of revisiting the opportunity to reorganize concepts, ideas, thoughts and theories to construct new meaning. 5. Teacher continuously observes and records child’s activity and asks questions to child about their work. Then further opportunities are created for child to revisit their interest and finally they come up with creativity within them. 6. Many open ended projects are planned by teachers to give children enough opportunity to practice and explore creativity. Reggio projects are usually very long which can go on for months to months following child’s interest. 7. Teacher keeps children involved in sculpture, dance, music, shadow playing to nurture creativity in child. | In Both the approaches teacher takes great care of the environment setting to support child’s development with respect to creativity. 1. In Reggio Emilia use of sculpture, shadow playing is more common than Montessori approach. 2. Role of the teacher also differs in both the approaches having their staffing structure different than each other. There is no ‘atelierista’ (a specially trained art teacher) in the Montessori model. But it is the hallmark of the Reggio Emilia approach. 3. Reggio Emilia teacher usually plans for emergent and open ended creative projects which can be very long since it not defined by scope. But Montessori projects are usually not that long and they follow specific pattern and have pre defined scope even though it is child centric and emergent. | 4. Physical Development | Teacher in Montessori school pay careful attention to physical development of the child. 1. Teacher keeps children involved in activities which develop their gross motor skills: - Gross motor activity refers to activities involving large muscles of body. So the role of the teacher here is to plan and arrange for different activities involving gross motor e.g. sand water table activity, sliding. 2. Planning for activities by teacher for development of Fine motor skills: - Fine motor development refers to movement of small muscles in body such as hand wrist muscles, movement of finger. e.g. drawing with pencil, using scissor involves fine motor Muscles in body. 3. Teacher keeps educational, sturdy and self correcting material around the children. Children experiment with them, play with them, organizes them and this way they exercise and grasp more control over their muscles. 4. Teacher involves children in various play activities where each child is active all the time e.g. musical chair game can be modified by the teacher to keep all of them walking and active during the course of the play. | Reggio Emilia schools are very much art based. Here usually teacher uses ‘art’ activities to help children in their physical development. 1. Teacher keeps open ended materials around the children which can be experimented and played with. E.g. Clay, which is a medium to encourage children’s sensory stimulation and practice fine motor skills and gross motor skills. 2. Teacher involves children in various kind of open ended innovative art based play. Such as jello and spaghetti painting, action painting with washable paints. These activities improve their fine motor control. 3. Teacher involves them in brush painting through which children exercise their hand, wrist movement and it help them in fine motor skills. 4. Children are given opportunity to dance, practice music and all these helps in physical development. 5. Outdoor activities are also encouraged to develop physical skill. | In both the approaches teacher plans and provides opportunities for child to develop their physical development. 1. In Reggio Emilia teacher being an ‘art balancer’ emphasizes more on practice of art and innovative play to help children in their physical development. In Montessori approach it is usually educational play based. 2. In Reggio Emilia teacher arranges mostly open ended and self defining thing around the children to exercise their motor skills. In Montessori approach teacher keeps sturdy and ‘didactic’ materials around. | 5. Social Development | There is a misconception about Montessori that it is individualized and it does not support socialism. Teacher in Montessori encourages activities which improves coordination, independence and concentration. 1. Teacher carefully plan for mixed age grouping of children in the classroom. So even though the child carries out activity of his own interest different than the other, still the child take help of their peer or elder friend in the classroom. They don’t completely depend on teacher for their solution. This way they learn to help each other and this finally leads toward healthy socialism. 2. Teacher involves children in activities to make them learn to share, take turns, showing empathy etc. they are taught to take responsibility of their own and others. So we can say teacher‘s role here is to care for individualism and development of socialism among children. | In this model children are believed to be social and they are seen as a part of community from birth itself. 1. Teacher plans for such activities which are carried out by the whole class together. So class wide activities are encouraged more. 2. Children are kept involved in dramatic plays through which they learn responsibility toward society and community. 3. Teacher make children gather around a common work table where all children work together in collaboration. | Both support socialism by different way. 1. Montessori model emphasize more on individualism by giving each child opportunity to do activity of their own choice and also it support socialism by giving them opportunity to help each other in the class room. 2. Reggio Emilia model Emphasize more on development of community feeling among children by involving all the children in one activity. So they all work together in cooperation and collaboration .so automatically healthy socialism develops in this model. | Environment’s Role in Supporting | 1. Cognitive Development | 1. Great emphasis is given on selection of sensorial material to be kept around children. All Material has only educational meaning and teacher uses it for specific learning steps. Children are given opportunity to dig out the knowledge by exploring the things around them. By using sensory organs like seeing, touching and smelling they come to know more and more about the material which finally leads toward their cognitive development. E.g. If the child looks at a ball in the classroom. He touches it. He finds it hard and different than water. Later when he looks at some other thing which is also round like ball, then he may think about the similarity between their shapes. When he drinks juice and milk, easily he can think and make out the similarity between liquids and be able to differentiate it from objects which are hard and solid. This way they learn to explore and finally gain knowledge. 2. Montessori emphasizes on organization. Learning from errors is less emphasized on Montessori. Even though Montessori also believes that children learn from error so the set-up is done in such a way which reduces the possibility of errors. So self correcting, didactic materials are used more in Montessori Environment. | 1. Environment is very important source of education in Reggio Emilia model. A very careful setting is done in Reggio Emilia classroom regarding cognitive development of child. Usually open ended material is kept around children. Things are usually experimental, educational and self defining. Children can give them new meaning as part of their experiment. So in all these process they use their intellect. 2. Environment is aesthetically very pleasing to attract child’s interest toward a particular thing. Things are kept at easy reach to children. They are allowed to touch, smell, manipulate and play with things and they are given freedom to self define them. When they look at something around they come up with questions what, how, where, why? Environment gives them more opportunity to explore and refine their experience with that. This way they construct knowledge about things and finally it leads toward their cognitive development.Environment setting is purposeful but not only educational. 3. In Reggio Emilia there are many places for social gathering where children come together, they talk to each other on different topics, participate in dialogues and speech , and this way they develop problem solving skills. So it is the environment which gives them frequent unplanned opportunity to participate in debate and discussions. | Both give strong emphasis on proper designing of the environment around children. Environment is considered to be the “Third Teacher”.However one of the main differences in both of these approaches is regarding the use of materials in the environment. 1. In Montessori all the material used have only educational meaning whereas in Reggio Emilia model along with being educational they are also experimental and children can give them new meaning which may not be understandable by us but the child can use it to communicate with world around them. E.g. Clay - Children can play and experiment with clay .They can self define the shape which they make using clay. 2. So cognitive development in both these environment takes place in little different ways. Where Montessori emphasize more on digging out knowledge about predefined thing , Reggio Emilia along with knowing about the things emphasize more on self defining. That‘s why use of environmental thing is different in both these approaches. 3. In Raggio Emilia there are many places for social meeting such as in ‘piazza’, ‘atelier’, where children get frequent and unplanned opportunity to participate in discussion during their chat with other and it helps in cognitive development. In Montessori there are such activities but usually they are planned. In Reggio Emilia it’s more natural and unplanned progression. 4. In Reggio Emilia set-up is done in such a way that children makes error and learn but in Montessori environment the possibility of error is reduced by proper environmental setting by keeping didactic, self correcting material around the child. | 2. Language Development | 1. In Montessori written and oral knowledge is emphasized. So for language development environment around the child is designed With many tools and toys which support language development.Such as toys which makes alphabet letter sound when their button are pressed.Letter chart is displayed on the wall etc. | 1. In Reggio Emilia symbolic language is emphasized. Things around the child can be self defining.Here many opportunities are given to child to express their feeling and thought. E.g. Children can be motivated to use logo to represent train. They can use color and canvas to express their mood and feeling symbolically. Such as If they are happy they use bright colors. Young children form mental images and they need a medium to express their ideas and messages through different avenues. So they represent them symbolically through sculpture, gestures, drawing, dance, music .And opportunity to do all these are given to them by their well prepared environment. | In both the approach environment support language development. 1. But in Montessori use of alphabet letters and words are emphasized, whereas in Raggio Emilia symbolic representation of language is emphasized. So their environments give them respective opportunity to practice and develop their language. | 3. Creative Development | 1. Montessori environment develop creative skill within the child. Creativity is not just limited to art. It is actually creative thinking skill. Montessori atmosphere is full of sensorial tools around to invoke and practice creativity. Creativity is nurtured in purposely designed environment. 2. There is different activity area in the classroom. Each area has its own purpose and equipped with sensorial materials. There are three purpose related to creativity in the Montessori environment: * Real life experience * Refining experience * Expression of experienceWe can understand it with an example. If there is a music area in the classroom where there is a small guitar for child. Child stretches the strings of guitar and notice that music comes when he stretches it. Then if the child find its interesting then he practice more and more with it. Then further his curiosity develops more toward it and he understand that with each string stretch there is different sound comes and with the different force applied to string different sound comes. Finally it changes the child into a creative person. Also environment enables the child to generate and extend ideas, gives opportunity to apply imagination. | 1. Creative environment to generate curiosity is hallmark of Reggio Emilia approach. A barren and dull environment is not conductive to creative work. In each school there is centrally located ‘atelier’ and a smaller mini ‘atelier’. There is dramatic play are, music area. Whole place is well lit with natural sunlight because it is believed that creativity flourishes in natural environment. 2. In Reggio Emilia children are thought be as creative as adult so the whole school is designed with natural and sensorial tool to invoke hunger for creativity in them. E.g. if teacher want to teach children about red color then the environment arrangement are done in such a way which provokes the child’s interest toward that. Children may be presented with red tomato, apple around. Then they can be offered passively with red water color and canvas. Following that they can experiment with red color. They can correlate red color things around. They can experiment With red water color. Then they can progress to know further about different colors, they can experiment with mixing of colors and come to know about new colors. So here we saw the role of environment in development of creativity about colors within the child. Further the child can express his creativity by painting on canvas and speaking his creative mind through this medium. 3. Environment provides with material and sensorial experience to generate interest within the child to attain a purposeful goal regarding creativity. | In both the approaches there is great care taken for environment designing to develop creativity within the child. 1. The provocation for knowledge for a particular thing is usually purposeful and planned in Montessori environment to reach to a particular state of creativity but in Reggio Emilia it is not usually planned it’s more natural and emergent progression . 2. Reggio Emilia schools have a central ‘atelier’ in the school and a mini an ‘atelier’. (Art studio) to develop and practice creativity. Montessori approach does not have a separate art studio. They have different activity areas but there is no provision of having a designated art studio in the school. 3. In Reggio Emilia the environment is aesthetically more pleasing than Montessori. | 4. Physical Development | 1. In Montessori schools indoor and outdoor area is planned and designed carefully to provide children safe and secure area to practice their gross and fine motor skills. There are many indoor activity areas such as art and music area where they get opportunity to exercise and develop fine motor skills.Outdoor they get opportunity to play where they can develop their gross motor skill. E.g. sand water play, sliding etc. | 1. In Reggio Emilia designated areas for different activities are usually very spacious. It is well lit in natural sunlight. They have wall sized windows. Children get lot of opportunity to move around from one interesting activity area to other and they get lot of opportunity to play indoor and outdoor games. They play many innovative plays in carefully designed environment and develop their gross and fine motor skills and develop coordination between them. | Both the environment gives opportunity to children to develop and exercise their motor skills. 1. In Reggio Emilia indoor is usually more spacious than Montessori and its more natural inside which gives physical benefit to child. | 2. Social/ Emotional Development | 1. Environment is designed in such a way that encourages socialism. There are outside play area where children can play together. 2. Game materials are kept around children who can be played together in group. 3. Since the class room has mixed age grouping so socialism in bound to develop between them. 4. There is usually a ‘pretend play area’ in Montessori schools where children can participate in play together. Its designing is done keeping ‘practical life work’. 5. Classroom is divided into activity areas to carry activities which can be done by individual or along with the help of each other. | 1. There is a common art room ‘atelier’ where children can involve in art activities together. 2. Well designed and carefully planned Reggio Emilia architecture provides many opportunities for children’s joyful encounter and interaction. They have central designated area for small and large group activities. They have a ‘piazza’ at the center. Rooms are connected with phones. So we can see how their environment naturally supports socialism. 3. In the room there are mirror everywhere on the wall. So children see multiple images of his own and peers .It gives them a sense of being a part of the society. 4. Usually in Reggio Emilia classroom walls are made transparent and the rooms are large and well lighted. Children can see each other across the wall and they feel to be a part of the community. 5. They have a pretend play area where children participate in plays together. 6. Reggio Emilia approach emphasizes on collaboration. Children work together on collaborative project. They have clear designated areas for small and large group activities. | Both support socialism by their careful designing of environment around them. 1. There is not necessarily be a separate Art area in the Montessori classroom,But in Reggio Emilia it is an integral part of their architectural design to support socialism. 2. In Montessori transparent walls made up of glass are not common but it is very common in Reggio Emilia classrooms to make the children feel a part of society. 3. The pretend play area in Montessori is designed keeping in mind the “Practical life work” but in Reggio Emilia it is designed keeping creativity in mind. This is the area where children come together to be a part of pretend play and learn to socialize. 4. In Reggio Emilia there architecture provides many opportunity for interaction among children like having a ‘piazza’, central ‘atelier’ But in Montessori there is no designated area like that. |


(1) (2) Principles of the Montessori Method, (3) Page( 30) Developmentally appropriate curriculum eBook (4) Reggio Emilia Philosophy, (5) Fine Designs" from Italy: Montessori Education and the Reggio Emilia Approach (page 2-7),

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