YES, this is exactly what I've been looking for!
I had one of those huge "YES!" moments last month when I found Jeanne Zuech's (@jeannezoo) "my break-up letter with the Reggio Approach" on her blog Zella Said Purple. Like Jeanne, my teaching life has been deeply impacted by the Reggio Emilia approach. In fact, I would go even further to say that my personal life has been deeply impacted in the sense that my perspectives on people, interactions, materials, and communities have been transformed. Lately though, I have been doing a lot of thinking about to what extent this defines who I am and what I do as an educator. And then, to what extent I am comfortable and confident with this.
YES, I have just been able to clarify my own thoughts!
While I may not be prepared to 'break-up' with the Reggio Emilia approach - or any approach that my practice is influenced or inspired by for that matter - I am ready to shed the labels.
The labels we put on ourselves and our programmes are what I believe get us into trouble. They trap us, in that we respond less directly to our current circumstances and the specific needs of the individuals and environments that surround us and focus too intensely on making choices that align with the labels (whether that be 'Reggio-inspired' or otherwise). We become complacent and comfortable in the fact that we are 'doing' a curriculum and approach that is well-respected and well-researched, thinking too much about the 'what' and too little about the 'why'.
One of my strongest memories from the Reggio Emilia Study Tour that I attended in 2011 is when our leading pedagogista said that the Reggio experience cannot be reproduced and cannot be replicated. And if we truly understand the Reggio experience, this is true, and should also be true for every unique and individual programme and approach around the world. We may be inspired by each other -- and this is of course a significant part of the process -- but we should not strive to replicate, for this is exactly when other communities and approaches, as well as our own, become "misinterpreted and misrepresented" as Jeanne discussed.