Reggio Emilia’s approach to education is based in the municipal system owned and operated by the city of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy since the 1960’s.
What is the Reggio Emilia Philosophy?
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 lead 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.
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 further information on the Istituzione Municipal Infant-toddler Centres, Preschools, and Elementary Classrooms of Reggio Emilia, visit the website www.reggiochildren.it