(DeKalb County, July 12, 2018) – – Dr. Linda Grant, the director of the Early Childhood Care and Education program at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, recently led a delegation of Georgia Piedmont alumni on a study tour in Italy. The purpose of the trip was to give local educators an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Reggio Emilia approach to educating children.

The objective of the study tour is to allow participants to gain a more in-depth understanding of the approach by visiting schools, listening to educator lectures, and spending time with teachers. Participants had an opportunity to attend workshops each day that introduced them to the Reggio Emilia approach, including seminars that featured presentations, observations and documentation. Attendees also had free time during the tour so they could explore the city.

“I believe teaching models in the United States and elsewhere could benefit by integrating the Reggio Emilia principles,” Grant said. “It starts with a shift in thinking about who children are, what they are capable of, and what it means to be a teacher,” explained Grant. “I use these questions as a starting point when I teach Early Childhood Care and Education courses, so that my students become empowered to challenge the false rhetoric about testing and the rote tasks that tend to belittle children and minimize their potential,” she concluded.

Reggio Emilia is an approach to early childhood education developed in the town of Reggio Emilia. It is a complex but highly successful approach which has gained international acclaim.

Principles of Reggio Emilia revolve around the idea that children are valuable citizens of the community with rights and gifts. Another aspect of Reggio Emilia is that teachers of children between birth and age five are regarded as critically important educators. According to Introduction to the Fundamental Values of the Educator of Young Children in Reggio Emilia, which outlines the guiding principles of the approach, the “educators in Reggio Emilia consider their work as an educational experience that consists of reflection on theory, practice, and further careful reflection in a program that is continuously renewed and re-adjusted.”

Rukia Rogers, owner of The Highlander School and a member of the tour delegation, said, “When I hire teachers who have graduated from Georgia Piedmont Technical College, I know, because of their relationship with Dr. Grant and the way she designed their Early Childhood program, that they already have a good understanding of the Reggio Emilia Approach.”

The following Georgia Piedmont alums accompanied Grant on the study tour: Jessica Horsley ’09; Deborah Reid ’13; and Latisha Flowers ’13. Clara Herrera, a Spanish language instructor at Georgia Piedmont, and Nicole Alsop, who plans to enroll in the Early Childhood Care and Education program at GPTC, rounded out the contingent. The study tour began on May 27, 2018 and concluded on June 2, 2018.

About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia. As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing economy. In August 2016, the Atlanta Business Chronicle ranked Georgia Piedmont among the top ten technical colleges in terms of enrollment. GPTC’s graduation rate, as reported by the Technical College System of Georgia in its 2017 annual Benchmark and Supplemental Reports, is more than 82 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 99.5 percent total job placement rate. Serving more than 4,000 students, Georgia Piedmont’s adult education program is the second largest in the state. The college has 11 learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. As set forth in its student catalog, Georgia Piedmont Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law). Contact Dr. Perrin Alford, the ADA Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1231, ADA504Coordinator@gptc.edu or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-217; or Lolita Morrison, the Title IX Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1210, TitleIXCoordinator@gptc.edu or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-157 for assistance.