The Importance of Open Ended Creative Materials in Teacher Education: Applications of the Reggio Emilia Approach

By Polly Ashelman.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this study, teacher education candidates were provided with extended opportunities to explore how open ended experiences can support growth and development of children in a manner that is consistent with Constructivism and the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach, and also fulfill the requirements for documentation of accountability. At the end of the study, participants’ responses indicated an emergent understanding of the value of providing children with time, space and materials that enable them to represent and strengthen the concepts related to creative thinking and problem solving. Further data analysis revealed that the participants believed judgments about achievement of standards should include authentic assessments of children as they engage in self-initiated open ended activities.

Keywords: Reggio Emilia Approach, Teacher Education, Creative and Critical Thinking, Open-Ended Opportunities for Learning, Authentic Assessment and Documentation

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.345-356. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.253MB).

Dr. Polly Ashelman

Professor, Early Childhood and Family Studies, Kean University, Union, NJ, USA

Polly Ashelman is a professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Family Studies at Kean University. She has a M.S. in Family and Child Development and Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech. Her early childhood background includes teaching, consulting and supervising. She has been active in professional organizations and is a co-founder and vice chairperson for the New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia.


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