The Aisling Approach

Reggio Emilia

We are inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach which is an innovative and inspiring Italian approach to early childhood education which values the child as strong, capable, and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. Every child brings with them a deep curiosity and potential and this innate curiosity drives their interest understand their world and their place within it.

Loris Malaguzzi (1920 – 1994) is the Italian educational philosopher behind the development of the Reggio Emilia early childhood settings and pedagogical approaches. Malaguzzi was a primary school teacher in the town of Reggio Emilia, who later went on to study psychology.

In Reggio Emilia the environment is viewed as the 'Third Educator', at Aisling Daycare, we are committed to providing environments that are rich in possibilities using open ended, natural materials.

We do not use templates when completing artwork, the children create their own masterpieces using a variety of materials. The focus is on the process rather than the end product, with photos taken of the children as they participate. All artwork is displayed attractively with explanations as to the process with corresponding photos.

We create a 'home from home' environment by using real furniture, shoes, clothes, jewellery, tea sets, pots & pans, real potatoes, carrots, celery etc. Natural materials replace traditional 'plastic toys' and children, including babies are given opportunities to explore and investigate open ended play materials.

Throughout the nursery there is a calm atmosphere, staff are present, observant yet unobtrusive. Children can work alone or in small groups, there is space to be alone, yet our environment encourages children to interact with others.

Respectful Practice

We are also inspired by Emmi Pikler and Magda Gerber who pioneered an approach that promotes engaging with children in ways that respect them as people with rights and freedom. It means treating children, even the youngest infants as a unique human being, not as an object.

Children are consulted in all decisions made regarding their care and are given explanations as to what is happening throughout the day. In this way children will feel secure knowing what is happening next.

Adults invite children to engage in play activities and observe their cues as a way of communication. We show empathy with children and validate their feelings so that children feel heard and understood.

Magda Gerber says:

"Allow the child to be authentic, to move, to feel the way they move, appreciating them for what they are."

Eager & Able to Learn

This programme, designed by Early Years the Organisation for Young Children, was developed with the aim of improving young children's eagerness and ability to learn through enhancing their physical, social, emotional and linguistic development.

We have implemented the programme with our 2 year olds in the Tots and Toddler rooms.

Media Initiative

The Media Initiative for Children (MIFC) was developed by Early Years - the organisation for young children in Northern Ireland. It combines cartoon media messages around diversity with an early years programme. Together they aim to promote positive attitudes to physical, social and cultural differences amongst young children, practitioners and parents. The messages also address bullying behaviours.

The cartoons are set in a play park and feature characters young children can easily identify with. The messages in the cartoons are reinforced in the early years setting through the use of resources and interactive activities that prompt children to talk about their feelings and attitudes to the issues explored in the cartoons. We use Media Initiative in the Preschool and Nursery school with children aged 3-5yrs. Staff introduce the message and puppets gradually over time