The Reggio Emilia Approach: How and Why It Works

Play-Based Approach
Last updated on 22 Nov 2023

The Reggio Emilia Approach: How and Why It Works

Reggio Emilia Approach
Last updated on 22 Nov 2023

To those who work in early childhood education, the Reggio Emilia approach barely needs introduction. Born in the Italian town of Reggio Emilia following WWII, the approach is one that has changed attitudes towards children forever.

In the Reggio Emilia approach, educators and parents go beyond the content of children’s learning. The approach also emphasises the importance of interrogating how children learn as well. 

Moreover, this dynamic approach highlights the agency children have in their own development, inviting educators to nurture children’s interest and investment in learning more than ever. Experimentation, creativity, and curiosity are all core values in the approach, as we explain below.

Defining the Reggio Emilia Approach

What is the Reggio Emilia approach?

It is a pedagogical approach that sees children as active learners from the very beginning. It recognises the part their curiosity has to play in their growth, especially when paired with opportunities for learning experiences.

Institutions set up based on its principles give children ample chances for exploration and experimentation. Creative experiences are also treasured, as they provide more opportunities for learning.

The Reggio Emilia method therefore goes beyond the textbooks and workbooks of old. It expands children’s horizons and sees to their multifaceted development in a variety of ways.

The Principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach

To understand the Reggio Emilia method, one must look at its principles. These are as follows:

  • Children are capable of constructing their own learning.
  • Children are collaborators in relationships with each other, teachers, parents, and their environment.
  • Children are natural communicators and are encouraged to express themselves.
  • The environment is the third teacher and must be enriching and supportive.
  • Teachers are nurturers and guides who help facilitate exploration in children’s learning processes.
  • Documentation is an essential component of a child’s learning.
  • Parents are partners in their child’s learning and are encouraged to play an active role in their child’s education.

How does this approach benefit your child?

There are many benefits for children in the Reggio Emilia approach. The fact that the approach guides them through opportunities for self-expression, diverse experiences, and chances for experimentation builds their confidence in themselves and their abilities early on.

This approach to early childhood education and development highlights child-led learning. In the process, it also acknowledges the individuality of learners

This means that children are treated as unique learners with their own styles of learning and interests. This helps educators better personalise the way they help children learn, in turn. 

Children play an active role in this process in many ways, from directing what they want to learn to how they apply it in play. This nurtures their self-directed learning skill development and strengthens their independence.

Yet at the same time, it boosts their ability to collaborate with others, especially through the interactions they have with both caregivers and other learners.

The Reggio Emilia approach is also excellent at building children’s creative and critical thinking skills. This is due to its encouragement of experimentation, exploration, and the arts as tools for learning. 

Finally, the Reggio Emilia method also benefits children by giving them an environment where they always feel “heard”. Educators using the approach practise a pedagogy of listening that not only helps children feel supported and valued but helps educators understand them better.

Why the Reggio Emilia Approach Works

This approach is effective for several reasons:

  • Its flexibility and recognition of children’s individuality allows it to be applicable to different types of learners.
  • By teaching children their own power in learning and helping them take pride in it, it raises people who love learning from childhood onwards.
  • It associates learning with positivity by taking account of children’s interests, ideas, and thoughts, leading to more optimistic approaches for new challenges (like higher academic levels).
  • The approach leads to independent learners who seek out learning experiences even beyond the guidance of teachers, which leads to even richer development.
  • The method’s acknowledgement of the environment as an educator encourages teachers to tailor and curate learning spaces to better support children’s growth, accounting for variables other approaches don’t.

Consider Reggio Emilia-inspired preschools to enhance your child’s early education

In effect, the Reggio Emilia approach is one that has much to offer children as well as their parents and teachers. It lays the foundations for a lifetime of successful learning and confident, independent growth. 

If you want to realise as much of your child’s potential as possible, it may be worth taking a look at the Reggio Emilia method and the way it enriches early childhood educational experiences.

Consider the difference between your average preschool and a Reggio Emilia-inspired one, for example. The latter is more likely to have large common spaces, an abundance of natural elements, and more accessible materials for children’s exploration and experimentation.

This adds a touch of magical discovery to the child’s preschool experience that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It also gives the child an early sense of the wonders the world can bring, enriching their education from the start.

If you want to learn more about the Reggio Emilia approach and how it can benefit your little one’s learning and discovery, reach out to us at Lily Valley Preschool. You can also register your interest for a school tour with us if you want to see what a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool looks like!