Our image of the child is all of our ideas, our subconscious opinions, our biases and the stereotypes that we hold about children and childhood.
These ideas and opinions may originate from our culture, our life experiences and our families. They may have been passed down from generation to generation, beginning from our grandparents or even from the parents of their parents. However the one thing is certain, we never stop transforming our internal image of the child. Throughout life it constantly develops, changes and adapts with every experience we have.
If we look back, we can especially see this transformation taking shape as parents and/or educators. This “bundle of meanings” that evolves while we interact and observe children, while we exchange and relate to other parents and colleagues.
The more open-minded we are, the more flexible and the more we embrace being lifelong learners, the more the stereotypes and biases we have. Our image of the child is reshaped and redefined, morphing alongside us, becoming more and more aligned with the parent and the educator we want to be.
It’s really important to work and reflect on our image of the child, as it has the power to unconsciously influence our behavior and re-actions in response to children’s behavior including the way we talk and educate them. Even when we rationally know what we should say or do, these subconscious patterns can influence our instinctual behavior, being stronger than any rational belief or thought.
So, reflecting and redefine our image of the child will allow us to embrace a more fluid parenting where all of our actions, reactions and beliefs are aligned.
You see, competent children deserves competent adults that are open to:
- Risk taking
- Mistake making
- Providing space for active listening
- Offer opportunities of expression
- Prioritize participation and empowerment over correction and perfection
- Place more attention on the “process” rather than the product
- Re-launch the children’s interests, translating a moment in time into learning opportunities
- Immersing in play with their children, being with them not just there for them
…And much more…
Our image of the child, our image of the parent
We all have an ideal vision of us as parents. This vision is often associated to a secure, competent parent. A resilient parent full of strength and resource, but this ideal often ends up as expectation that cannot always be satisfied. Sometimes we don’t know the way and other times we do know the way but our re-actions win leaving us feeling disappointed with ourselves and making us feel like failures in managing certain situations.
We may feel disappointed by our children, or ourselves or feel ‘not enough’ as parents.
We may feel full of doubts on what to do and what not to do. Sometimes we may have lost the beauty of parenting and need some new inspiration, a magic wand to bring the sparkle back into our family lives.
We believe that a non-judgmental space can often help us to overcome these feelings and thoughts, a space that can provides room to once again explore and embrace parenthood in a fresh and organic way, a space to help us move toward our own self-evolution as parents.
Reggio Inspired Parenting
How does Reggio Parenting support me along this journey of self evolution?
“Reggio (Inspired Practices) embrace a very competent and capable image of the child, and for competent children they need and deserve competent adults. Since I became a parent, I often found myself struggling a lot with parenting and felt drained or let down by my own behaviors that were a product of my history and my childhood. Reggio enlightened me, it paved the way for me. Reggio is an approach created ad hoc for schools and educators. But as such a believer of this approach I began to investigate ways of bringing it into the world of parenting, I discussed with colleagues, compared, studied and investigated how to integrate this approach into my life. Since then, I have begun to find parenting more relaxing, more organic and more inspirational. Inviting awareness on our journey and having the tools to understand ourselves and our children better is a powerful way to spark joy and make space for magic in our lives.” – Ambra Lanzi
To learn more:
- ‘Your image of the child: where teaching begins’ (Loris Malaguzzi, 1993)
- ‘The Hundred Languages of Children’ (C. Edwards, L. Gandini, G. Forman; 1993)
You can register to one of our ‘Reggio parenting’ webinar via the links below: