Reggio Emilia Approach




What Is Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education is named after the town of Reggio Emilia in the Emilia Romagna province of northern Italy. In Reggio Emilia, publicly funded schools provide education for children from birth to six years. These schools have been described as among the best in the world.

The schools of Reggio Emilia began as a parent initiative. With the end of World War II, parents in Italy banded together and founded the town’s first pre-school. They had a vision for a new kind of school where children would be treated with respect and parents would be active participants in their children’s education.

loris_malaguzziThe parents sought the help of educator Loris Malaguzzi (1920 – 1994) to set up schools that reflected their vision. From the start, the Reggio early childhood approach reflected openness and responsiveness to new ideas and developed a curriculum that differs from the rigidity of public schools. His approach was to stimulate long-term in-depth research projects as the primary path to learning, which is one of the fundamental features of Reggio that inspires and sets it apart from conventional settings. Throughout his whole life and work, Malaguzzi inspired and guided educational reforms to early education across the entire globe.

International recognition of the Reggio preschools exploded in 1991, when a panel of experts commissioned by Newsweek magazine identified the preschools of Reggio Emilia as one of the “best top ten schools in the world” (Newsweek 1991). Also, this innovative educational approach has made an impact quickly worldwide through the Hundred Languages of Children exhibits. This display is a traveling exhibition that has been telling the story of the Reggio Emilia educational experience worldwide to thousands of visitors for over twenty-five years.

Today, leading corporations and institutions are increasingly adopting the Reggio Emilia approach for their preschool programs. Google and the World Bank, for example, have become prominent users and advocates for this approach to early childhood education. Today the Reggio Emilia Approach is used by them and over 5,000 other schools worldwide.

The following video, “The Hundred Languages Of Children,” shows a wonderful view of the Reggio Emilia philosophy in a modern classroom environment.

What is the value of Reggio philosophy

The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy centered around preschool and primary school children. It allows young students the chance to participate in decisions regarding their own education, places an emphasis upon self-expression, cooperation within the community, creativity, and a respect for the natural world. Our environmental approach to integrating subject matter into the curriculum aides in a true understanding and teaches children respect for our earth. As a result, the Reggio Emilia approach provides the following value:

  • Reinforces critical thinking and true comprehension so that the children actually understand what they are learning, and can apply it to the real world.
  • Students learn best through hands on approach, therefore, it enables students to explore their environment and express themselves through movement, drawing, painting, reading, writing, building, sculpting, shadow play, collage, drama play, and music among many other communicative and cognitive means.
  • Children are not rushed from one activity to the next, instead encouraged to repeat key experiences, delve further into subject matter, continue multiple observations, consider and reconsider, represent and re-represent.
  • Allows for a more gradual pace and more comprehensive approach enabling children to remember what they learn and form a firm knowledge base that facilitates learning in later schooling.
  • Ensures students work at their appropriate developmental levels which
    • Increases pace of learning
    • Decreases frustration
  • Promotes higher level thinking that is essential to mastering mandated core curriculum standards.
  • Motivates children’s interests and involvement.
  • Facilitates the delivery of a well-balanced curriculum, which prepares students for higher levels of education

Reggio is successful because it results in

  • True comprehension and critical thinking.
  • Creativity and self-discovery.
  • Formulation of long term retention vs. short term.
  • The creation of true comprehension rather than rote learning (regurgitation).
  • Parents having a real opportunity to influence their child’s education.
  • Children learning more through doing and realizing that learning is fun
    • Kids are encouraged to be kids, to run, play, get their hands dirty, get wet, and explore.
  • Children learning in a hundred different ways and encouraged to express these different ways of knowing (writing, storytelling, drama, movement, drawing, sculpture, music, photography).

Your child is successful at CIJS because

  • CIJS curriculum promotes higher level thinking that is essential to mastering mandated core curriculum standards.
  • CIJS provides degreed teachers who are effective in bringing out each child’s full potential.
  • CIJS offers student/teacher ratios lower than those State mandated.
    • Children get individualized one-on-one collaboration.
  • CIJS offers a state-of-the art facility.
    • Children produce theatrical productions on stage, learn to cook in cooking class, and have access to the thousands of learning materials that facilitate their growth.
  • CIJS offers music, art, and drama as integral parts of the curriculum, not add-ons.
    • Parents do not pay extra for these important learning opportunities that are integrated in meaningful ways into daily activities.
  • CIJS curriculum revolves around hands-on project-based learning—not worksheets.
    • Learning opportunities are seized upon through interaction with these projects. Projects and learning are interdisciplinary: children learn literacy, science, art, social studies, and other subjects as they occur in real-world projects.
    • As a result, learning is deep and meaningful, rather than rote and superficial.
  • CIJS collaborative learning provides the perfect combination of child-directed discovery and teacher guidance and encouragement.
    • Children are taught to make predictions, and are guided to find their own answers.
    • Through this process children learn to love learning and become life-long learners.

More Information about Reggio Emilia

  • “CNN Report on Reggio” (YouTube)
    • CNN report on the schools in Reggio Emilia Italy and why they are considered the worlds best preschool model.
  • “Reggio Method NAREA” (Wikipedia)
    • A description of the Reggio Emilia Approach as an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education.
  • “Pinterest Ideas” (Pinterest)
    • Pinterest collage of Reggio Emilia Ideas
  • “ChildCare Education Institute” (CEI)
    • Articles from the Teacher Enrichment Training Solutions Newsletter regarding Reggio Emilia in Your Child Care Setting.