The Reggio Emilia Approach To Early Education

The Reggio Approach is an innovative approach to early childhood education developed by Loris Malaguzzi in Reggio Emilia, Italy. It was influenced by progressive education models and various psychological theories. Malaguzzi, along with Bruno Ciari, played a significant role in revolutionizing early childhood education in Italy by emphasizing learning, democratic participation, and social activism as alternatives to traditional approaches.

The approach involves strong engagement with families and the community. Parents and community members participate in school management, volunteering in classrooms and hosting field trips. Preschools and infant-toddler centers operate full-time, five days a week, and offer extended day options. Inclusivity is prioritized, with admission given to children with disabilities, and therapy services provided as needed.

Preschool classrooms consist of approximately 25 children with two full-time co-teachers and a dedicated atelierista, who supports creative learning activities. A pedagogista provides professional development for the staff, and auxiliary site staff are considered part of the educational team. The learning environment is designed with natural materials, ample natural light, and dedicated spaces like ateliers for collaborative projects. In-house kitchens allow children to observe meal preparation.

Unlike traditional prescribed curricula, the Reggio Approach emphasizes collaborative projects and inquiry-based learning. Learning goals are determined by children and adults together, and achieved through flexible, long-term projects. Teachers and children are viewed as researchers and co-creators of knowledge. Teachers observe, interact, and provide scaffolding to extend learning, while children demonstrate their understanding through expressive art forms. The child’s progress is documented in a portfolio shared with children and parents to observe development over time.

Overall, the Reggio Approach focuses on active participation, collaboration, and the holistic development of children within a supportive community and engaging learning environment.