Reggio Emilia Inspired Preschool

2014 – 15 Preschool Schedule
2014-15 Registration Form

Don’t forget about summer camp!

Scuola Italiana offers a Reggio Emilia-inspired, cultural immersion preschool in NW Portland.  The program is taught in Italian by an experienced, native Italian teacher.  The preschool is open to children ages 3 to 5 years old.  The program operates Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM.  For working families, the scuola has partnered with We Village to offer a safe and affordable after-care alternative.  After-care students are safely escorted to We Village at the end of the school day and parents can pick up children at a later time.

The preschool is located in the Zimmerman Community Center at 1542 NW 14th Ave (between Quimby & Raleigh Sts.) on the ground floor of the beautiful Ramona ApartmentsTo schedule a site visit and/or request more information, please email

What is Reggio Emilia?
The Reggio Emilia model is based on multi-sensory, child-directed learning. Founded in 1963 by Loris Malaguzzi, an Italian pedagogist in Reggio Emilia, a city in North Italy, this approach “fosters children’s intellectual development through a systematic focus on symbolic representation, including words, movements, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play and music, which leads children to surprising levels of communication, symbolic skills and creativity” (Edwards et al., 1993).

“Children have the right to use materials in order to discover and communicate what they know, understand, wonder about, question, feel and imagine. In this way, they make their thinking visible through their many natural languages.” (Bringing Reggio Emilia Home, Louise Boyd Cadwell, 1997.)

The Scuola Italiana di Portland is a member of NAREA (North American Reggio Emilia Alliance).

Program Information
Scuola Italiana di Portland is a full immersion program, meaning Italian is spoken from day one.   However on occasion, the teacher may find it necessary to use English to help a child understand a word or phrase.  At these times, the teacher will use the “sandwich method” – Italian word| English translation| Italian word again -. Also when students speak to the teacher in their native language, she always answers in Italian, first repeating their questions in Italian and then answering them in Italian. She asks her students
to repeat her words and sentences and so on.

The full immersion method is very effective with small children, who have short attention spans and are unable to listen to long and theoretical explanations. The second language is the vehicle for content instruction not the subject of instruction. Therefore, as students
are “immersed” in the second language, they can become fluent speakers of the language at an early age.  It has been found that students enrolled in an early-immersion program learn the second language at an almost-native proficiency.

Scuola Italiana uses a Background Integrated Curriculum.  This model of learning promotes a positive connection between the affective and cognitive dimensions of learning and promotes a sense of continuity throughout the school year.  Using a Background Integrated Curriculum allows young children to learn in a context that makes sense to them and has been shown to enhance student motivation.

Using this model, the teacher organizes all lesson plans around a central theme. The preschool program combines many different areas of interest around the common theme using a flexible planning style, encouraging our students to learn at their own pace on multiple levels.

How is the natural world changing each season? We discover how the natural world is changing through direct observations and taking pictures of these changes, then recording each change with drawings and notes.

2. ART:
“Making Art” is a spontaneous way for a child to express himself and communicate his/her own personal experience to other people. With this area of interest the children will find the way to express themselves through a different communicative language known as visual literacy.

The meeting between American and Italian cultures in our classroom presents an opportunity for an authentic diversity experience which will permit the students to focus their attention on other realities, both near and far from them. We will teach our students about the most important Italian festivals, using constructive methods including short interactive stories, dance, folkloric music, and songs.

“Stories – said C. Lewis – are like a gift of love, they do not ask anything in return”. Children love to listen to the voice of an adult that is reading a story. We will use Italian childhood literature to help the students build an affectionate relationship with the Italian language.

Counting, lullabies, limericks, a little poetry in rhyme and children’s songs will be part of our musical project. The perception of rhythm and the musical sounds- the melody of a foreign language, helps students to feel comfortable with a new language.

Movement games are important to build a positive relationship between the body and a language. These games not only reinforce the target language, but are also useful for the development of his/her personality. One of our objectives will be to create a comfortable learning environment, where the children can feel trust and happiness, therefore lowering their affective filters and allowing them to express themselves in a natural and spontaneous way.

Need more information?
Please inquire at

More Resources
Recent studies have shown that children with proficiency or exposure to a second language at an early age demonstrate superior problem-solving skills and enjoy better school
performance.  To learn more about the Reggio Emilia approach or the advantages of learning a second language, please visit these websites:

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