NEW GLOUCESTER – Fiddlehead Center for the Arts, a multi-community arts center, is accepting registration for its original new early education program, FiddlestARTS.

Based on a world-renowned educational approach called Reggio Emilia, the program is available for 3- to 5-year-olds. Due to an overwhelming response to the program, currently only two days a week, options are available for either half days or full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will emphasize the arts and communication and will feature music, movement, work with clay and introduction to the Spanish language.

Reggio Emilia is a small city in northern Italy that is about the size of Portland. As they recovered from the World War II devastation to their town, its people decided to build infant-toddler centers that emphasized a stimulating environment and a focus on art and group projects.

That pioneering program has since expanded beyond Italy’s borders and there are Reggio Emilia-inspired schools in 27 U.S. states, including Maine. Reggio Emilia educators summarize it with six basic principles:

• Emergent curriculum, in which topics for study are captured from the children’s interests and conversations, or through community and family events.

• Project Work that is derived from concepts, ideas and interests that emerge from the group.

• Representational development, in which the arts are important tools for cognitive, linguistic and social development.

• Collaborative work with small or large groups of children.

• Teachers as researchers, in which teachers become learners alongside the children.

• Documentation of children engaged in experiences; their words captured through visual media as they discuss what they are doing, feeling and thinking.

• The environment is considered the “third teacher” and teachers creatively organize space for small and large group projects.

“In a classroom that uses the Reggio approach, children can explore a subject without time limits, which allows for deep thinking,” said Reggio educator Judy Ives. “Although the teacher will provide direction if necessary, the children can determine the direction of each day’s learning. The curriculum is flexible and readily adapted to the children’s ideas and interests.”

Ives will lead FiddlestARTS, and the program will run for nine months beginning in September. This will be FiddlestARTS second year running. Parents can decide to enroll their children in morning, afternoon or full-day classes. Fees vary depending upon the time a child is enrolled. Parents are encouraged to call Fiddlehead Center at 688-2244 for cost and other information.

Fiddlehead Center for the Arts creates an environment where children can be directly involved in the performing, visual and creative arts and sciences. It is a comprehensive multi-community arts center at 83 Pineland Drive at the Pineland campus and on the Web at

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