Infused into all that we do at The Wonder School is a deep connection to Jewish values and tradition. Together as a community we gather around important moments in the Jewish and Israeli calendar. These holidays are a time for asserting a feeling of connection, remembering our national history, and honoring the beauty of ritual.
At first glance it would seem that a 65 year old Italian educational philosophy and the world’s first monotheistic religion have little in common. And yet in a side-by-side comparison of their respective values and precepts, it is easy to see why so many Jewish preschools around the world have adopted the Reggio approach. In both systems of thought we find special attention paid to the importance of reflection and inquiry, Judaism’s teaching of the sages closely mirroring Reggio’s approach to learning.
We also find a shared emphasis on family and community as well as a similar notion of sacred time and space. Underlying both Judaism and the Reggio Emilia approach is a shared belief in the dignity and importance of human beings. Malauzzi expressed this through his image of the child as rich in potential and capability, Judaism through the notion that we are each created, “B’tzlelem Elohim,” in the image of God. It is these shared values that guide us in the work we do, with the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy underscoring the Jewish component of our curriculum and vice versa.
Written by Rachel Fink