The coordinator for Reggio Approach and Visual Arts Zoona Khan Kundi and Kanwal, while talking to The Nation, said that Reggio Emilia approach originated in the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy after WW2 as a movement to start a progressive and cooperative early childhood education system. TNS, a project of Beaconhouse School System is the pioneer in bringing Reggio Emilia approach to Pakistan.

 TNS in Gulberg and DHA areas of Lahore are headed by Clive Roger Barnes and Diane Metcalfe, respectively.

Reggio approach which holds the student as the protagonist contrary to the traditional teaching methodologies was founded by Lorris Malaguzzi, an educator and a psychologist who believed in the potential of a child as a capable and a powerful human being with a desire and the ability to grow and when provided with the right kind of opportunities is capable of constructing their own knowledge. TNS being a Reggio inspired school strongly believes in the principles of Reggio approach which revolves around the child, the adult and the environment.

Shedding more light on the topic, we were told that since the child is at the centre of the whole learning experience, the role of the adult (the teacher and the parents) becomes complementary to the role of the child. The teachers and the parents work as a team to educate the children, strengthening the notion of an educational system that is based on the relationships in a social and cultural setting. Talking about the curriculum, we were told that ideally Reggio approach advocates emergent strategies which is the projected curriculum approach, but since TNS is a PBL/IB World school; project based learning (PBL) is the main method/mode of instruction/learning for all grades from Nursery to IBDP at both campuses. This way of teaching and learning requires the teacher to be a participant learner and observer and transforms the teacher's role from being just a teacher to a collaborator, a friend, a facilitator and a researcher.

In Reggio-inspired settings, there is an emphasis on carefully displaying and documenting children’s thoughts and progression of thinking, making their thoughts visible in many different ways.

For this purpose photographs, transcripts of children’s thoughts and explanations, visual representations like drawings, sculptures etc are designed to show the child’s learning process. Documentation at TNS is also used as an informal way of assessing a child's progress which is later shared with the students and their parents, serving the purpose of informally educating the parents and the community.

Zoona shed some more light on the role of the ‘100 languages of children’ and the role of the Atelier which is the art studio. The Hundred languages of children is a poem written by Lorris Malaguzzi talking about the many different ways used by children to discover, communicate and learn. Explaining more, we were informed that as per the poem, a child does not only use verbal skills to communicate but employs visual or narrative modes and methodologies also.

These visual and narrative skills are nurtured in the Ateliers with the help of atelieristas who are teachers with a degree in art and play a key role in developing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary links within the learning experience.

Moreover, she explained that visual arts have a central position and a very strong role in the curriculum at TNS. “We do not teach art for the sake of teaching art or engaging students in crafty activities; but as a way or a method to teach problem solving, critical/analytical thinking skills that eventually empowers the students with expressive and cognitive freedom. It also provides the students with opportunities to become masters of all kinds of techniques like painting, drawing and clay,” she said.

On the concluding note we got to know that the teachers at TNS firmly believe in the saying, “The more the opportunities provided to the children; the richer their experience is going to be.”