Reggio Emilia Approach – Definition, Examples, History & More – Art Education and Methodologies Glossary

What is Reggio Emilia Approach?

The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy and teaching method that originated in the town of Reggio Emilia in Italy. It is a child-centered approach that views children as capable and competent individuals who are active participants in their own learning.

The approach emphasizes the importance of collaboration between children, teachers, and parents in the learning process. It values creativity, exploration, and inquiry-based learning, and places a strong emphasis on the arts and the environment as tools for learning.

History of Reggio Emilia Approach

The Reggio Emilia Approach was developed in the aftermath of World War II by educator Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the town of Reggio Emilia who were seeking a new approach to early childhood education. The first preschool based on this approach was opened in 1963.

The approach gained international recognition in the 1990s and has since been adopted by schools and educators around the world. It is known for its innovative and progressive approach to education, as well as its emphasis on social constructivism and the importance of the community in the learning process.

Principles of Reggio Emilia Approach

The Reggio Emilia Approach is guided by several key principles, including the belief that children are capable and competent learners who should be active participants in their own education. It also values the importance of collaboration, creativity, and inquiry-based learning.

The approach emphasizes the role of the environment as the “third teacher,” with a focus on creating beautiful, inspiring, and engaging spaces for children to learn and explore. It also values the arts as a tool for expression and communication, and encourages children to use a variety of materials and mediums in their learning.

The Role of the Teacher in Reggio Emilia Approach

In the Reggio Emilia Approach, the teacher is seen as a co-learner and collaborator with the children, rather than a traditional authority figure. Teachers are responsible for creating a supportive and stimulating environment for learning, and for guiding and facilitating children’s exploration and inquiry.

Teachers in the Reggio Emilia Approach are encouraged to listen to children’s ideas and interests, and to help them develop their own questions and theories about the world around them. They are also responsible for documenting children’s learning and progress through a variety of methods, including photographs, videos, and written observations.

The Environment in Reggio Emilia Approach

The environment plays a crucial role in the Reggio Emilia Approach, as it is seen as the “third teacher” alongside the children and the adults. The environment is carefully designed to be beautiful, inspiring, and engaging, with a focus on natural materials, light, color, and space.

Classrooms in the Reggio Emilia Approach are often filled with natural light, plants, and open spaces for children to explore and create. Materials are carefully chosen to be open-ended and inviting, encouraging children to use their imagination and creativity in their learning.

The Importance of Documentation in Reggio Emilia Approach

Documentation is a key component of the Reggio Emilia Approach, as it helps to make children’s learning visible and to track their progress over time. Teachers in the approach use a variety of methods to document children’s learning, including photographs, videos, written observations, and children’s own work.

Documentation is used to help teachers and parents understand children’s thinking and learning processes, and to guide future learning experiences. It also serves as a way to celebrate and honor children’s ideas and achievements, and to involve parents and the community in the learning process.