When looking for the best preschool for your child, you may encounter several different educational philosophies. The Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education is one such philosophy, and one with a multitude of benefits for your child.
What is the Reggio Emilia educational approach?
The Reggio Emilia Approach takes its name from its place of origin, Reggio Emilia, in Northern Italy. Shortly after World War II, local families collaborated with Loris Malaguzzi, a lifelong educator, innovator and creative philosopher, to find a unique public system of early childhood education.
Loris Malaguzzi and the parents of Reggio Emilia, Italy were devastated by the destruction of the war, and believed that the approach to education had to fundamentally change. Based on principles of respect, responsibility and community, a new educational philosophy was born.
In the Reggio Emilia Approach, there is an expression, “A child has a hundred languages.” The approach unites and develops all languages: innovation, nature, construction, fantasy, art, music, dance, building, writing, talking, signing, science, body, and soul. The multiple languages are used to support children build knowledge and understand the world around them.
The Reggio Emilia Approachelieves that a child has the right to be the protagonist of their own learning. The Reggio Emilia Approach is a child-centered approach, where teachers, parents, and the community are collaborators and partners in a child’s educational journey.
Guiding principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach
1) Image of the Child – The Reggio Emilia Philosophy supports the rights and opinions of each child. The approach holds that a child is a competent, capable, and natural researcher with the desire for knowledge, who is always ready for challenges.
2) The Role of the Teacher – The teacher plays a critical role in a child’s education by recognizing many learning possibilities. To further the learning process, teachers listen, observe, inquire, document, work together and reflect upon the experiences of each child.
3) The Environment as a Third Teacher – The Reggio Emilia Philosophy believes that the environment in which your child explores also provides a wealth of learning opportunities. Reggio Emilia inspired preschools are thoughtful and inviting. Materials in the classroom inspire children to think outside the box.
4) Documentation – To understand children and the way they learn, Reggio Emilia teachers work diligently to document all aspects of the learning process. From daily journals, child-specific observations and children’s artwork, all moments are considered pieces of the process. Teachers and children alike are able to view their learning process through this documentation.
Benefits of a Reggio Emilia preschool
The Reggio Emilia educational approach believes that, through its guiding principles, children are better able to solve problems, engage with their community and environment, welcome new experiences, build social skills, express themselves with confidence, and enjoy learning.