The Reggio Emilia approach to education places children at the center of learning. Teachers are collaborators and encourage children to explore their interests. Children are able to learn using their natural strengths in various ways, including art, music, and drama.
Teachers are learners, too, and document students’ growth through photos, informal notes, work portfolios, and recorded dictations. Educators also use provocations to spark student interest.
Children are at the center of learning
Under the Reggio Emilia philosophy, children are seen as strong and capable. Teachers help them express their ideas and understanding in a variety of media. They also nurture their creativity and sense of discovery. This is a different approach to learning than other educational philosophies.
Teachers listen closely to children’s conversations and interests. They then create learning opportunities that build on those areas of interest. For example, if a teacher notices that many students are asking questions about dinosaurs, she may start to develop lessons that explore this area of inquiry further.
Parents are considered a third teacher in this philosophy and are actively involved in the curriculum. They can be found in the classroom and also helping to conduct research on projects. Parents are also encouraged to bring their own skills and expertise to the school.They are the initiators of learning
Under the Reggio Emilia approach, children are seen as competent protagonists. Teachers act as guides and mentors, encouraging kids to learn through experiences and open-ended discovery. Teachers also communicate with each other about their observations, notes, and discussions, which allows them to develop a curriculum for each child.
Kids are encouraged to investigate the world around them, using art – such as drawing, clay, wire and painting – as a way to express themselves. They are encouraged to learn through investigations, which involve long-term projects that encourage kids to explore and add new information as they go.
In addition, the environment is considered a “third teacher” after parents and teachers. Schools are designed to be visually pleasing with lots of natural displays and earthy hues.
They have many languages
Children’s boundless potential is embraced through the Reggio Emilia approach, which calls for hands-on discovery learning. Educators at schools using this approach believe that children have many languages and can express themselves through art, music, dancing, construction, science and more. They can also learn through verbal communication. This is based on the philosophy of Loris Malaguzzi, who was instrumental in creating the Reggio Emilia approach.
This approach also promotes project work, where children follow their own questions and represent their explorations in a variety of ways. This allows teachers to learn from the children, and it promotes long-term sustained learning.
The belief is that the environment acts as the third teacher in the classroom, and the learning spaces are designed to be beautiful with lots of natural elements and curiosity-sparking materials. The classrooms are also often equipped with video cameras and other technology to document the children’s experiences and growth.
They are collaborators
Unlike other alternative education styles, the Reggio Emilia philosophy involves parents in their child’s learning on a daily basis. It also recognizes the child’s relationship with their environment and believes that children have “100 languages”—like dance, art, speech, laughter, and play.
Teachers in Reggio Emilia schools are collaborators with their students, using the classroom as a “third teacher.” Classrooms are designed to be open and welcoming with stimulating materials. Children are encouraged to communicate with each other and teachers through dialogue, comparisons, and negotiations.
Educators use their observations to connect core academic areas with student projects. They also support children’s natural interests by providing multiple avenues for their creativity, like dancing, painting, wire, clay, pencil, nature materials, and more. They document their work extensively to track a child’s growth and development.
They foster learning
Children foster learning under the Reggio Emilia approach by interacting with their environment, teachers, and parents. They are encouraged to explore their interests and create projects. They are also encouraged to collaborate with peers and use different media to document their work. Documentation includes photographs, anecdotal notes, drawings, and work samples. It can even include transcribed dictations and videos.
The educational environment is considered the “third teacher.” Teachers design the classrooms and outdoor spaces to inspire exploration, engagement, curiosity, and creativity. They believe that each space communicates both explicit and implicit messages to children.
Students are given the freedom to choose their own course of study, and teachers encourage group learning by facilitating dialogue, comparisons, negotiations, and respect. This collaborative process helps students learn from one another.