“To make a lovable school, industrious, inventive, liveable, documentable and communicable, a place of research, learning, recognition and reflection, where children, teachers and families feel well – is our point of arrival. (Loris Malaguzzi – founder of first Reggio Emilia school)
We first learned about the Reggio Emilia philosophy when we came across British Early Years Centre (BEYC), in Saphan Kwai. At the time, we were considering schools for our daughter and we were curious to see what this alternative style curriculum offered.
Our goal was to find a school which understood the value of incorporating nature into our development. We were looking for a school which was environmentally conscious, and could recognize the unique beauty within each child.
Our DNA says we are all unique human beings, yet most schools around the world still treat people as the same. So for our daughter, we were looking down the “alternative” route when we stumbled across BEYC. Upon our first trip there, the impact of the environment was immediate.
The outdoor garden is incredibly detailed. Every detail, every “provocation” inspires creativity and imagination. It is a profound sensory experience, with different textures available at every turn, from water to wood, from hay to silk.
There are tall trees and an abundance of flora grown within their magical garden. A sandpit, a climbing wall. There are natural “loose parts” are available in every area – a hallmark of the Reggio Emilia way. Three giant rubber tires, small, wooden beads.
As we walked around viewing the classes in action, we saw striking works of art on the walls made by each child, such as planets made out of sea shells. Discussions were taking place between groups. The foundation kids were playing a sensory game with water, kindergarten students were running up to us, eager to showcase their project work.
Then came the most impressive thing of all. A class of 4/5 year-olds were presenting work to their classmates and teachers, talking about their work in surprising detail – CONFIDENTLY. The decision was made, this is the kind of environment we wanted to see our little girl flourish in. A Reggio-inspired environment, which empowers children and cultivates confidence.
“What we really love (about the Reggio way) is that children are encouraged to make choices to ‘create’ independently, with a partner, in a group, or with a teacher. It’s up to them. If things don’t go as planned, they have a choice to try it again, or to try something else.”
“Our teachers emphasize the importance of trying something again and practicing a skill, but what is most important is that they are in control of their learning.” BEYC
The resources and the child-led philosophy is where BEYC lends from the Reggio style. Like Reggio schools, BEYC view children as thinkers, as active participants in their own learning journey.
The original Reggio Emilia schools are, of course, in Reggio Emilia, Italy. A wonderful place on earth, where a new, child-oriented philosophy emerged out of the rubble of World War 2. A philosophy that has inspired schools worldwide. A way of thinking that says: children have extraordinary potential which can only flourish in the right environment, and with all the adults, parents and teachers, working together.
BEYC have a learning environment rich in inspiration, full of “provocations”. These provocations are present in any Reggio-style school. Provocations are materials deliberately placed by teachers to spark the child’s curiosity and create a starting point for discovery.
“We believe the most beneficial aspect of the Reggio Approach is two-fold. The first is independence. This comes from children making independent choices. From this, the they learn important social, emotional and life skills.”
“The second is the freedom of creativity, where there is no right or wrong. This paradigm gives the children confidence. And confidence is everything.” (BEYC)
“We implement the ‘Reggio way’ through the environment, provocations, materials, support, communication, and observations.”
“The greatest thing about this is the confidence that we see develop in the children as a result from having the freedom to express themselves creatively in whichever way they feel happiest, at any moment in time.” (BEYC)
Fortunately, there are multiple schools emerging in Bangkok, which implement the “child-led” philosophy in their own, unique way.
We like to think of BEYC as a learning paradise, filled with passionate, joyful educators and of course, run by confident, independent little legends all blossoming in their own, unique way.
- Location: British Early Years Centre- International Kindergarten and Preschool
Address: 19/2 Soi Inthamara 3 Sutthisan Winitchai Rd, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400
- Phone: 02 616 9342
- Hours: Open Monday-Friday 8.30AM – 5.00PM