Deconstructing the pedagogies of Freinet, Malaguzzi, and the maker movement in an elementary school atelier


  • Matthew Yanko University of British Columbia
  • Peter Gouzouasis University of British Columbia


In the following study we investigate the foundations of an elementary school music atelier grounded in the pedagogies of Célestin Freinet, the Reggio Emilia approach, and the maker movement. Through the construction processes of musical marble structures by Grade 1 and Grade 4 students, we examine the strengths and challenges of the pedagogies and practices that scaffold the variety of learning that unfolds in our music atelier—including hands-on, collaborative, experimental, and experiential learning. In doing so we uncover the historical underpinnings of the atelier and come to understand how this unique studio space evokes student-centered experiences that fosters character, agency, and autonomy to take responsibility for one’s own learning. Moreover, we reveal how the elementary school music atelier can support a foundation for in-depth discovery and wonder that empowers children to develop sensitivities to design and artful ways of thinking and learning.