In the heart of Wicker Park lives a minimal concealed gem of a school wherever kids and their families obtain to celebrate their really like for Italian lifestyle. At Scuola Italiana Enrico Fermi (SIEF), little ones study in accordance to the Reggio Emilia tradition in a welcoming and helpful atmosphere, embraced by the Italian lifestyle. Recognized in 2016, SIEF welcomes preschoolers, kindergartners and very first graders, with a approach to mature up to eighth quality.
“Everybody has a explanation to join with SIEF — via one’s possess tradition, via the appreciation of the Reggio Emilia method, or by the international environment the place small children increase as a portion of a international community,” claims Amy Ewaldt, SIEF director. “We hug and explain to tales, we share recipes and celebrations, we tickle each other’s toddlers. SIEF is a shut and welcoming school.”
The boy or girl at the center
In a Reggio Emilia classroom, the trainer takes on the job of a researcher by diligently observing the organic, innate curiosities of the college students and encouraging them to go after their passions. “In kindergarten this year, just one scholar was fascinated in the Great Chicago Fire and brought in a library reserve to open up a discussion with the class, which led to a analyze. Other pupils created their have science lab in autumn and have gathered specimens, produced drawings, written their possess textbooks and sculpted fossils,” Ewaldt clarifies. And that is just a person tiny slice of SIEF’s pupil-led inquiries.
Recognizing that some assignments involve more time than matches neatly into a morning or afternoon, SIEF is fully commited to the makerspace philosophy that enables for extended-term project development. “Children have the agency to produce and think about and invent in the approaches they have to have to, together with their instructors,” Ewaldt states. “Then, they can conserve and revisit their venture operate over a lengthy period of time of time. It doesn’t have to be completed in 30 minutes or even a 7 days. Instructors assist to tutorial them to a ultimate final result that is offered to the local community.”
Learners check out American and Italian authors like Lois Ehlert and Nicoletta Costa and then craft their personal guides, which is an ideal and powerful way to introduce early literacy and a appreciate of reading through. Little ones have a abundant array of guides, materials and manipulatives for mathematics and science-centered inquiries.
When college students obtain for lunch, they clean their arms and hold out for everybody to assemble. Students and instructors prepare the tables, sit alongside one another and give buon appetito a tutti, making the most of their meals even though discussing their days, bonding with pals about foods in a very Italian way.
“When I walked in the initially day, it just smelled ideal,” Ewaldt recollects. “SIEF is a joyful position, where you just come to feel good being right here.”
Lights up with language
SIEF is a bilingual school, where pupils are immersed in the Italian language. Italian indigenous academics connect in their mom tongue, scaffolding development and setting up children’s expressive and receptive language abilities. Greetings, stories, fingerplays and tracks, guides, conversations, queries, online games — young children mature in their language proficiency each day by inquiring their peers issues and by participating in, making and telling tales. Beginning in kindergarten, little ones also get the job done on learning expectations, abilities and assessments in English as very well.
At this critical early age, language lights up a child’s mind remaining bilingual gives new cultural perspectives and perceptions. SIEF works with founding member and DePaul College Italian Department school, Anna Maria Fantuzzi, who can help to steer curricular improvement. “Children are subsequent both the American educational benchmarks as properly as the Italian understanding requirements. At SIEF, you have far more resources to meet and exceed standard instructional requirements. We appear at the youngster as a full, as a result of bi-cultural and bi-lingual contexts. SIEF builds empathy and creativeness that there is a feeling of other in the planet,” she states.
The Reggio Emilia solution embraces the thought that there are 100 languages of youngsters. “What is the language of paint, of clay, of mathematics, of magnetism? We’re looking for all of these languages all of the time, and Italian is thoughtfully integrated throughout,” Ewaldt claims.
SIEF’s specialty tunes courses, body motion courses, and ateliers are at the centre of the curriculum, available for students to gain numerous suggests to express on their own and understand the earth about them in significant methods.
Ewaldt provides, “Childhood is a foundational time the place we are understanding how to assume, forming our minds. We welcome families who want to choose the journey and knowledge this local community together. We love to open conversations — let’s investigate and see if SIEF is the suitable suit for your relatives.”