The Reggio Emilia Approach
“Reggio Emilia is a city of 130,000 people in the prosperous and progressive Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy. Its municipal early childhood system has become recognized and acclaimed as one of the best systems of education in the world.”
Our philosophy, curriculum planning, and environmental design are greatly influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. Over the past 30 years, this innovative educational system has evolved into a distinctive set of philosophical assumptions, curriculum, pedagogy, methods of school organization and design of environments.
As a whole, this systematic approach fosters children’s intellectual development through relationships and symbolic representation. It is based on viewing children as competent individuals with limitless potential. Children take an active role in constructing their own knowledge through personal interactions and their environment.
Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia approach, believed that learning should be made “visible” through the use of “100 languages” as each child explores the world. Young children are encouraged to explore their environment and express themselves through all of their natural languages or modes of expression, including: words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, dramatic play, and music.
Guiding children to surprising levels of symbolic skill and creativity, the Reggio Emilia approach is not based on an elite, sheltered setting of private education. It is geared toward a municipal system, providing full-day childcare that is open to all — including those children with special needs.
Classrooms are organized to support a highly collaborative, problem-solving approach to learning. Other important features are the use of small groups in project learning, the community-based management method of governance, and the teacher/child continuity.
In Reggio Emilia, education is viewed as a communal activity. It is the sharing of culture through joint exploration between children and adults, opening up topics to speculation and discussion. The incorporation of this approach has provided Learning Brooke with invaluable perspective — not only for developing our school’s physical design, but also for the training and guidance of our teachers.