Reggio Emilia Philosophy

Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994) founded the ‘Reggio Emilia’ approach at a city in northern Italy called Reggio Emilia. The ‘Reggio’ approach was developed for municipal child-care and education programs serving children below six. The approach requires children to be seen as competent, resourceful, curious, imaginative, inventive and possess a desire to interact and communicate with others.

The ‘Reggio’ vision of the child as a competent learner has produced a strong child-directed curriculum model. The curriculum has purposive progression but not scope and sequence. Teachers follow the children’s interests and do not provide focused instruction in reading and writing. The Reggio approach has a strong belief that children learn through interaction with others, including parents, staff and peers in a friendly learning environment.

Primary Components of the Teacher’s Role in the Reggio Emilia Philosophy

•     The teacher’s role within the Reggio Emilia approach is complex. Working as co-teachers, the role of the teacher is first and foremost to be that of a learner alongside the children. The teacher is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she/he lends expertise to children.

•     Within such a teacher-researcher role, educators carefully listen, observe, and document children’s work and the growth of community in their classroom and are to provoke and stimulate thinking

•     Teachers are committed to reflection about their own teaching and learning.

•     Classroom teachers working in pairs and collaboration, sharing information and mentoring between personnel.

Reggio approach is not a formal model with defined methods (such as Waldorf and Montessori), teacher certification standards and accreditation processes. But rather, the educators in Reggio Emilia speak of their evolving “experience” and see themselves as a provocation and reference point, a way of engaging in dialogue starting from a strong and rich vision of the child. In all of these settings, documentation was explored as a means of promoting parent and teacher understanding of children’s learning and development.