About the Reggio Emilia Approach®

About the City of Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reggio Emilia, a city in northern Italy, is where the Reggio Emilia infant-toddler centres and preschools are located, and from which comes the Reggio Approach.

How the Preschools and Infant-Toddler Centres Got Started

Reggio Emilia’s approach to education grew from a grassroots movement by citizens of the city who built schools for their children after World War II, determined that this was the way they could ensure that the children would never again have to endure Fascism. Loris Malaguzzi led the movement from the late 1950’s until his death in 1994. There are currently 46 centres for children from birth to age six, and a school at the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre for students up to Grade 5. The city of Reggio Emilia also has an international centre for the study of childhood and maintains ongoing contact, through study tours and conferences, with over 80 countries.

For further information on the Istituzione Municipal Infant-toddler Centres, Preschools, and Elementary Classrooms of Reggio Emilia, visit the website www.reggiochildren.it

The Reggio Emilia Approach®

“The Reggio Emilia Approach® is an educational philosophy based on the image of a child with strong potentialities for development and a subject with rights, who learns through the hundred languages belonging to all human beings, and grows in relations with others.” (Reggio Children)

The keystone of the approach is the image of children and teachers as capable, resourceful researchers, interested in inquiring seriously into the world around them. Such thoughtful engagement includes working through theories, thoughts, feelings and values in multiple modes of representation, such as drawing, dance, wire, clay, music, painting, light and shadow, design and building, and so forth. It includes the teacher research of pedagogical documentation in which teachers inquire into children’s thinking and understanding, invite children to revisit documentation, and study documentation in order to propel curriculum further. It includes the notion of children as full participants in their society, and creators of culture for others to study and enjoy. Parents are invited to be full participants in the life of schools. It is the richest, most expansive and demanding vision of childhood we have encountered, and as we attempt to cultivate its possibilities, we see children, teachers, and families respond with a depth of thinking, feeling, and joyful participation previously unexperienced.

For information on this approach visit https://www.reggiochildren.it/en/reggio-emilia-approach/

The Values of the Reggio Emilia Approach®

“To make a lovable school, industrious, inventive, liveable, documentable and communicable, a place of research, learning, re-cognition and reflection, where children, teachers and families feel well – is our point of arrival.”  Loris Malaguzzi

  • Education is a right for all children, for the growth of the individual and the collective, and the responsibility of the community.
  • A system of relationships within the territory, and its culture, capable of joining the local to the global
  • Promoting the rights and potentials of children and their families to relationships, autonomy, creativity and learning together in contexts of dialogue, co-responsibility and shared elaboration that gives value to the specific educational responsibilities of each
  • Children as active protagonists of their own growth and developmental processes. Children possess extraordinary potentials for learning and change. Each child, individually and in relation with the group, possesses an ecological sensibility towards others and towards the environment, toward constructing knowledge and contributing to the construction of culture
  • The Hundred Languages possessed by children, a hundred ways of expressing themselves, of understanding, and of encountering others, with a way of thinking that creates connections between the various dimensions of experience rather than separating them. It is the responsibility of centres and schools to give value and equal dignity to all verbal and non-verbal languages and to make these languages visible
  • Participation is the educational strategy that is constructed and lived day by day in the encounter with others and in the interpersonal relationship, that gives value to and makes use of the hundred languages of children and human beings, viewed as a plurality of points of view and of cultures
  • Listening that nurtures reflection, welcoming, and openness is a condition for dialogue and change. Infant-toddler centres and its preschools have the responsibility to foster and make visible these processes through pedagogical documentation
  • Learning as a process of individual and group construction in relationship with peers, adults and the environment that is fostered by strategies of research, comparison of ideas, and co-participation in the pleasure of learning
  • Shared educational research between adults and children is a priority practice of everyday life, an ethical approach for interpreting the world, systems of co-existence and a powerful instrument for renewal in education
  • Educational documentation gives value to individual and group learning and makes it accessible for revisiting, reconstructing in exchange with different points of view. Documentation as a public space supports the infant toddler and preschools as a forum in which the culture of childhood and education is elaborated through a democratic process.
  • Environment, spaces and relations take shape in relation to projects and learning experiences
  • Professional growth, a right and duty of each individual and the group, is given priority in the daily life of the centres, through reflective practices of observation and documentation, in-depth study and sharing
  • Assessment makes use of documentation, the participation of the families and the surrounding community, participation in the integrated public system

For more information on the values underpinning the Reggio Approach visit https://www.reggiochildren.it/en/reggio-emilia-approach/valori-en/

Why are these values are so important to us today?

About Loris Malaguzzi

In 1963, when the municipality opened its first preschool, the Robinson Crusoe, Loris Malaguzzi, in his role as a psychologist, was asked to collaborate with the new educational project of municipal preschools. Loris Malaguzzi’s career was already rich and varied, with experience of working in early childhood, primary and adult education, and experience in the municipal psychology services and summer camps with schoolchildren. In the city community interest quickly developed in this project, and Malaguzzi contributed to making the schools places of experimentation and innovation. Read more about Loris Malaguzzi Reggio Children International Network Reggio Children International Network

Connections to Ontario’s Pedagogy

How Does Learning Happen and The Kindergarten Program

The Ontario government looked to Reggio Emilia Preschools and Infant-Toddler Centres when developing Ontario’s pedagogy for the early years. Fundamental to this pedagogy is the view of young children, their families and the educators that work with them as protagonists in their own learning and pedagogical documentation as the means to make this learning and collaboration visible.

How Does Learning Happen

Full-Day Kindergarten

What does it mean to be part of this international network and Ontario Reggio Association?

As with any relationship, there is a commitment, a trust, a responsibility to congruence with the values and principles of the Reggio Approach.