The Reggio approach emphasizes the child having control of their learning. They must be free to choose. And when they do, learning is built into the activities. Learning happens via sensory experiences. They discover life’s answers by experiencing life instead of being told what the answers are.
Also big in the Reggio world is the environment. Practitioners treat the classroom as the “third teacher”— parents are the first, child care teacher is second. They advocate for open, well-light areas, often mimicking the European plazas. Integration of the outside world with the inside is key, with big windows, plants, etc.
Mom Tatia Brende, who followed Webb from Webb’s previous job as director of Bethlehem Lutheran Church’s day care, says she’s a fan of both Webb and the Reggio approach.
“The learning is based on hands on and not just, ‘Let’s throw a book in front of a child,’” Brende said. “Her teaching and parenting style is how I would do it.”
Brende said she’d never heard of the Reggio approach before dropping her son off at Here We Grow. But she’s done her research since then and like’s what she’s learned.
Right now Here We Grow is half full, but with the current day care situation in Mankato, it’s likely to fill up soon.
“No, there’s not enough,” said Deb Evan, a day care provider in Mankato.
It’s nearly as tight now as it was several years ago, when she’d routinely field calls from people who would say things such as, “If I have a baby, will you have an opening?”
“It’s too tight right now, people don’t have choices,” she said.
Webb left her previous employer in August. She spent the time between then and late January trying to carry out her dream of starting up her own day care business.