The Reggio Emilia Philosophy
Reggio Emilia is a city in Italy that is world renowned for its early education philosophy. This unique approach to learning was created by psychologist Loris Malaguzzi after the end of World War II. It was believed that children needed a new way of learning after the war ended. This style of teaching is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through a self-guided course of study.
The Philosophy Explained
The Reggio Emilia approach to learning focuses on the natural development of children. Rather than being seen as an object for instruction, children are viewed as the individual they are. This philosophy stands by the idea that children deserve to be respected as creators of their own destiny.
The Reggio Emilia Philosophy is based on a specific set of principles including:
- Children should maintain some authority over the direction of their education. They need to be made to feel that they have a choice when it comes to what and how they learn.
- Students must be given the opportunity to learn through experience or “hands-on” learning. They should be able touch, observe, move, and listen to their environment.
- Developing a relationship with one another and the world around them is an important part of childhood development. A sense of community and respect for their world and peers is encouraged.
- Generous opportunities to express themselves allow students to develop their personality and sense of self.
The Teachers Position
Classrooms based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy view teachers as co-learners or colleagues. Instead of constant instruction and unquestionable authority, teachers provide education through guidance. These teachers plan activities based on the child’s interests, asking questions in order to understand and engage each child. These warm educators are an essential learning tool for students.
The Learning Environment
The learning space is often referred to as the child’s “third teacher.” Reggio Emilia classrooms are spacious and designed work with the child’s whole environment, including the entire school and community, for building a place of nurture.
The Reggio Emilia Philosophy greatly relies on mutual trust between teachers, parents, and students in order to create a cooperative educational team. The result is an ambiance of community and fellowship that is developmentally enriching.