Central to my personal philosophy are a set of important beliefs which have acted as a navigational instrument during fifteen years in the educational world. These beliefs are grounded in educational theory.Foremost amongst my beliefs is the importance of on-going critical reflection of all held beliefs and their practical applications. The psychologist Karl Jung argued that a life unreflected is a life not worth living. Professionally, this too holds ground. Professional competence can only be achieved through rigorous self-examination of held beliefs and practises. This as Noble, Macfarlane & Carmel claim (2005), produces a close analysis of all practises, especially those that are seen to be normal and part of the dominant learning-teaching culture.
Therefore, critical reflection does not just rest with my beliefs and practises. It demands an on-going analysis of all beliefs and practises in the work place. Furthermore, it demands confronting those practises and issues that need to be questioned. Next, it requires thinking beyond the square and grabbling with other possibilities that may or may not fit within the dominant culture.
This coincides with the five principles of Reggio Emilia approach for all children are competent, curious and creative, therefore the process of learning and wonder as an integral quality within all children. Reggio educators view children as a natural scientist; driven by curiosity, with tremendous observational skills and an ability to form strong theories about the world around them. The Educators consider a child’s creative expression (especially in preliterate stages), as their way of communicating about their world around them.
The 5 Principles of Reggio Emilia
In addition to these professional beliefs, there are essential educational beliefs which govern the code of practice within the work place. These educational beliefs are all child centred. More specifically, my practices reflect a belief that every child has a right to learn in a safe, secure and stimulating environment; that each child is an individual and has the right to express themselves individually; that diversity needs to be respected; that children learn best through play and interactions with peers and parents and finally learning optimised if professionals observe the child’s innate styles of learning and provide opportunities to engage with these.