That Day We Went the Extra 5,700 Miles

Picture this: 15 of our Pre-Kindergarten educators, from both the Puxi and Pudong campuses at Shanghai American School, packing their bags and hopping on a flight to Italy. No, it wasn't a vacation, but rather a professional development opportunity of the highest order - The International Reggio Workshop.

Now, you may wonder, why Italy? What's so special about this workshop? And why would SAS send its teachers halfway across the globe?

At SAS, we don't just believe in supporting our teachers; we act on it. We understand that an investment in our teachers' growth is an investment in our students' futures. So, when we say we sent our teachers to Italy for a workshop, we mean we sent them to learn from the crème de la crème of early childhood education methods - The Reggio Emilia Approach.

"But what's this Reggio Emilia Approach?" I hear you ask. Simply put, it's an educational philosophy that views children as individuals full of potential and rights. It believes in nurturing this potential through various languages, or modes of expression,and relationships. Not your run-of-the-mill teaching method, eh?

The International Reggio Workshop, set in the beautiful Italian city of Reggio Emilia, offered a deep dive into this innovative approach. Our teachers and administrators had the chance to engage with the fundamental and nuanced principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach, participate in hands-on ateliers, and even visit local preschools and infant-toddler centers. Talk about getting a slice of the authentic Italian education experience!

This trip was all about equipping our already brilliant teachers with new insights and techniques to further enhance the SAS learning experience. Rachel Griffin, Pudong Pre-Kindergarten teacher, shared her insights, "The presentations on student-centered learning emphasized the notion that as adults, we don’t need to teach children what children can find out by themselves. Instead, it’s our responsibility as educators to create enriching environments, and remember that it’s not always about what students learn, but how they learn."

Andrew Bissonnette, Puxi Pre-Kindergarten teacher, added, "Our time in Reggio Emilia was affirming and inspiring. SAS has been a Reggio-inspired school for over ten years and the workshop provided time to appreciate and reflect on the solid existing foundation of our early years program."

At Shanghai American School, we believe in going the extra mile, or in this case, the extra 5,700 miles, for our teachers. Now, how's that for a professional development opportunity?


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