little bug

Pigland & the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Learning

November 3, 2015
Written by: Sarah

Building an entire world is a tough job, not for the faint of heart. Luckily, our Big Kids are up to the challenge! They have been hard at work building “Three Little Pigs’ World,” “Pigland,” or just plain “Pig World” depending on who you ask.

The children were inspired to create a world for their little pigs by the book Mattland by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Gilbert. The title character, Matt, is miserable upon moving to a new town. The area he lives in is surrounded by nothing but mud, rocks, and sticks. Matt ventures outside where he realizes that he can create a place of his own: a pile of stones becomes Dog Tooth Mountain, a large puddle becomes the Far Off Ocean, and once forgotten containers become houses and factories.

Like Mattland, the Big Kids created Pigland using the materials they had on hand. Green paper became its grassy landscape and tissue boxes transformed into the pigs’ newfound houses, nary a stick, straw, nor a brick in sight.

Seeing the Big Kids explore and expand the fantasy world of Pigland calls to mind a poem by Italian Early Childhood Education Specialist Loris Malaguzzi entitled The Hundred Languages of Children. In the poem, Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early learning, poignantly reminds us that, as teachers, we’re able to foster an environment in which children can take the lead. Malaguzzi views children as full of potential and able to construct their own knowledge. They will give voice to their learning in myriad ways if just given the opportunity.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is an approach to teaching, learning and advocacy for children. Essentially, it is a way of observing what children know, are curious about, and what challenges them. Teachers record these observations to reflect on developmentally appropriate ways to help children expand their academic and social potentials. Long term projects connect core academic areas in and out of the classroom.


In the spirit of Malaguzzi’s Reggio Emilia Approach, my goal for Thursday’s “Building Buildings” classes is to provide the space for our Big Kids to explore the investigate the fantasy world of their little pigs and provoke their natural curiosity with open-ended questions about its development. Just what Pigland becomes is up to the Big Kids, but I have no doubt that it is destined for greatness!

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