Originally Posted by LCT
Barbara - I really like the Reggio approach and wish it were more widely used. Unfortunately, we don't live in the city, but may consider moving. How successful has City Neighbors been at implementing Reggio?
I'm not a 100% expert on the topic - what I do know is that the vision of being true Reggio seemed to become diluted because of a combination of not having staff trained in it when we opened as well as because some parents who apply and get in via the lottery don't give a darn about progressive education. So, we had parents that first year who were asking about dittos, homework for K students, and why aren't we saying the pledge of allegiance? (turns out that the latter is a state law. who knew?)
I can tell you we do have an atelerista (sp?) and we have arts festivals twice each year plus Karma Darma on-stage poetry night. The kids all have art class every week plus each trimester has a theme which they use for project based learning. On the other hand, our standardized math test scores weren't initially doing well and so the teachers elected to use Everyday Math curriculum which is obviously not an art based learning approach. I do like the curriculum however - much better than how I was taught math IMO.
And a few of our graduating 8th graders got accepted into the arts high school for this fall.
Along the way we've also sent our 8th graders to Europe and had visiting German students in return. How many Baltimore City students ever get THAT experience! The same teacher who coordinated that has also taken his students to NYC, camping, to the Hippodrome, the Senator, and all kinds of cool places. He gets them involved in activism which is partly why Baltimore City Schools has hired a chef to run the school lunch program who will incorporate local foods and that the first school the chef went to for input from the stundents was City Neighbors.
The down side of the school (of any charter school I would imagine) is those lottery folks who don't share your vision and so may be anti-gay (we have some of those) or otherwise not share in the values for which the school was founded. Best to plan on being involved in committees and such so as to make sure the school remains what you'd like it to be for your kids.
For more info on the Reggio influence I'd suggest speaking to our Atelerista Susan Brightman as well as to the school principal himself. You can tell them I referred you.