In this assignment I will be comparing and contrasting two curricula: the national ‘Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage’ (F.S.) in England, introduced in 2000, which I followed as an early years practitioner until the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (DfES, 2007), and the localised, Reggio Emilia (R.E.) system in Italy, an approach founded by Lori Malaguzzi in the town of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy. I will explore what these curricula say regarding how and what children should learn and who decided this.
A child’s experiences can vary depending on the time, place, cultural influences and expectations, which they are exposed to. Children’s starting age in compulsory education varies; in most European countries it’s six years, whilst here in England they start at the age of five years. From day one, adults have a fundamental effect on children’s development, as does the curriculum model in place at the time of their schooling.
The F.S. curriculum was the result of a government initiative to drive up standards in early years education. It was produced with very little consultation with early years professionals and no input or opinion was sought from the public. In contrast, the R.E. approach was “one man’s distinctive vision of the child” (([Book] 2, [Chapter] 6, [Section] 4.1, p.248). The determination of the people in the region to build a school out of ruins, just after the Second World War, inspired Malaguzzi to join them and found the RE approach.
With the region’s blend of history and culture based in a participatory co-operative democracy Malaguzzi was able to form a coalition of parents, teachers and officials, the back –bone of the RE approach. This would be very difficult to achieve in Britain given our strong government involvement and diverse society.
Malaguzzi felt that the fascist regime had produced a society that could not think for itself, “state-run school(s)…course (of) sticking to its...