The Reggio Emilia Approach to preschool education was started by the schools of the city of Reggio Emilia in post-World War II Italy. It is named after the town of Reggio Emilia in the Emilia Romagna province of northern Italy. The schools of Reggio Emilia began as a parent initiative. With the end of World War II, parents in Italy banded together and, with the proceeds from the sale of surplus war materials, founded the town’s first preschool.
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. The parents sought the help of educator Loris Malaguzzi to set up schools that reflected their vision. From those early schools grew the framework for a new model in education for young children.
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education which values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. Every child brings with them deep curiosity and potential and this innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum, in a supportive and inspiring environment.
It’s not easy to hand over the care and education of your child to someone else. When you know that your child will be in a Reggio Emilia inspired program, participating in Reggio Emilia inspired activities that are designed to help them learn by “finding their own way”, build up their self-confidence, and develop their critical thinking and social skills, your decision will be that much easier.
Parents find it reassuring that our Reggio Emilia inspired program activities, as well as Reggio activities for infant and toddlers follow the core values and ideas of this well proven and respected early learning childhood education approach.
As Reggio Emilia inspired teachers, we believe children are capable of constructing their own learning. Through Reggio Emilia activities which center on children’s interactions with others and their own investigations, children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world.
The activities in our Reggio inspired program focus on social collaboration. Working in groups, each child is an equal participant and has their thoughts and questions valued. Our Reggio Emilia activities encourage children to explore their environment and express themselves through many “languages,” including words, movement, drawing, painting, sculpture, shadow play, collage, and music.
In the Reggio Emilia approach, the teacher is considered a co-learner and collaborator with the child rather than an instructor. Teachers are encouraged to facilitate the child’s learning by planning activities and lessons based on the child’s interests, asking questions to further understanding, and actively engage in the activities alongside the child. They see learning not as a linear process but as a spiral progression and consider themselves to be partners in the process of learning. Teachers possess a habit of questioning their certainties; a great deal of awareness and availability; a critical style of research; and the skills to talk, listen and learn from children and their parents. The interaction between children and the teachers is one of the remarkable aspects of the Reggio Emilia Approach.
Teachers are researchers and guides to the children; at the same time they are eager to learn alongside them. They provide endless ways and opportunities to express themselves and their potential. They carefully observe and listen, collecting children’s comments and intuitions and turning them into problems to be solved by the children themselves in different ways and throughout various projects. Above all, the Reggio Emilia teachers are engaged in listening, observing, and understanding the strategies that children use in a learning situation.
Teachers diligently document children’s thoughts and ideas, and encourage them to make these visible in fun, visual representations such as drawings, sculptures, collages or photographs. These symbolic representations of what the child is thinking and feeling also serve to show their learning process and progress. Understanding where children are in their development is seen through children’s documentation of their experiences, dialogue and interactions.
In a Reggio Emilia school, teachers inquire and listen closely to the children, rather than judging them. Our documentation of a child’s progress might be their drawings, or photographs, or a booklet or panel with their words and drawings. By making your child’s learning visible, we accomplish several things. We are able to study the thinking and feeling of your child in order to gain insight into their understanding; we are able to evaluate our own work and adjust the curriculum if necessary; and as importantly, we are able to show you your own child’s learning experience and progress in a visual and unique way.
A typical Reggio Emilia lesson plan may start with a question by the teacher of what the children know about something familiar in their environment – rocks, birds, or anything that is commonly seen in their home or school surroundings. Since it’s a familiar sight, children always enthusiastically offer whatever information and experiences they may have, telling stories, and learning from each other. As the Reggio Emilia lesson plan emerges organically, the children may then be asked to show their knowledge in a visual representation, and are encouraged to learn even more.
“Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children do, and then, if you have understood well, perhaps teaching will be different from before.” – Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of Reggio Emilia’s educational philosophy
The organization of the physical environment is crucial in Reggio Emilia schools, and is often referred to as the child’s “third teacher.”Reggio Emilia believe that children’s creativity and learning process is very much influenced by their environment.
The environment at our Reggio school is inspiring, filled with natural light, order, openness and beauty. Our bright and modern learning centers are furnished with leading edge materials to encourage and support your child’s curiosity and creativity. Materials are easily accessible and uncluttered and inviting. Every resource is carefully considered for its purpose.
One the most valued aspects of the Reggio Emilia curriculum is the emphasis on nature. The outdoor environment is just as important and influential as the classroom. In Reggio Emilia activities, elements of nature are brought into the classrooms– from flowers and interesting rocks to tree branches and sticks. In a Reggio Emilia lesson plan, children use these natural materials from the environment in their projects, and relationships between people and the natural world are explored.
Traditional daycare centers for toddlers offer them toys that are chosen mostly for health and safety – ones that are made out of hard plastic so they are easy to sanitize, smooth textures and round, completed shapes for safety. These types of toys, however, offer few opportunities to engage children in the complex way their lively minds work and do not inspire a sense of wonder. Our Reggio activities for toddlers employ natural objects that are open-ended and unusual— so that a toddler’s mind is optimally engaged—such as natural gems and rocks.
Parents are a vital component to the Reggio Emilia curriculum. At our Reggio Emilia inspired school, parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. We value and respect children’s parents as their first teacher and involve them as much as possible. We encourage our parents to participate in discussions about Reggio Emilia lesson plans and evaluations, school policy, child development progress, or any other concerns they may have.
Why Should You Choose Our Reggio Emilia School For Your Child?
We’re open from 7:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. We find these hours and the range of program we offer meet the daycare needs of most parents in our community. We invite you to come and see for yourself the kind of care your child will receive at our school.