The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy focusing on preschool and primary education. It was created after WWII by a teacher in Reggio Emilia, Italy, which is where the approach gets its name. After the war, educators and families believed that children needed new ways of learning, to cultivate young minds as an investment in the future. The Reggio Emilia approach was developed to help children learn in this new framework.
The basics of the Reggio Emilia approach
Using a self-guided curriculum, children are allowed to express themselves in different ways as they develop their personality. Activities such as painting, drawing, sculpting, and drama are encouraged, as these are all seen as “languages” children use. By allowing children to engage in meaningful learning experiences, the Reggio Emilia approach helps to instill a love of learning, enhances early education and prepares children for the transition into school.
Under the Reggio Emilia approach, children are viewed as active, capable and valuable members of the community. They are encouraged to explore, question, and interpret the world during the first five years of life, as creating a solid foundation of experiences during these early years helps each child reach their full potential. Educators using the Reggio Emilia approach believe that children should have some control over their learning. Children have many languages in art, music, and drama, and they should be encouraged to learn through experiences like listening, moving, touching and observing.
The teacher is seen as someone who collaborates with students, rather than just instructing them. There is no set curriculum or testing program, and children may stay with one teacher for up to three years to create a consistent learning relationship. Teachers will often plan lessons based on each child’s interest and continuously ask the child questions to further engage them, rather than just assigning an activity and observing.
Parents and the community
The Reggio Emilia approach believes that parents and the wider community have collective responsibility of children. It is an inclusive, village-style approach that engages children, parents and the community as all being essential components to the learning process. Parents are seen as partners; as the first teacher for the child before they enter the education system. Reggio Emilia schools facilitate constant communication between teachers and families, and parents are encouraged to volunteer to help in the classroom and incorporate Reggio Emilia principles at home.
The importance of the environment
The environment is an essential part of the Reggio Emilia approach. The belief is that if children are placed in a beautiful environment, with stimulating materials to work with, they will be motivated to explore and respect the environment. Indoor spaces at Reggio Emilia schools will normally be nature-inspired, designed with plenty of indoor plants, vines and natural light to engage the viewer. Classrooms may feature several mirrors, doors, windows or courtyards to create a sense of space and assurance. An open piazza or central common area is often attached to an open plan kitchen, while student artwork is showcased in galleries throughout the school.
Nido Early School
Nido Early School was launched in 2014 to provide families in Western Australia with a new standard of early education for their children. Nido Early School follows the Reggio Emilia approach and have adapted it to suit the climate, culture and educational context of Australia. With experienced educators, comfortable learning environments, and a flexible approach to learning, Nido Early School is often seen as a home away from home. To find out more, call 08 6210 3210 or visit nidoearlyschool.com.au to find your nearest centre.
If you are interested in discovering more about the Reggio Emilia approach, you may like to read our article which discusses Reggio Emilia vrs Montessori