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The Reggio Emilia Approach in Early Childhood

The Reggio Emilia approach in early childhood recognizes that children are self-directed, curious learners who can advocate for themselves and their best learning styles. Learn more from early learning expert Mirella Alexis.

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Overview of Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia approach or method is one of many educational philosophies—and one of the more popular ones among parents and early learning providers. What makes the Reggio Emilia approach different from other philosophies is that it gives children the ability to advocate for themselves and their best learning style. 

Founded by Loris Malaguzzi in northern Italy, Reggio Emilia recognizes that every child learns differently. And that what may be most effective for one child can be completely different for the next. Reggio Emilia is less structured and predetermined than other methods. Therefore, it allows a child to observe, participate, and reflect—enriching them to be active participants in their learning. A huge component of the Reggio Emilia method is that it can be play-based and allow for self-discovery in real-time. It lends itself to a child’s brain soaking up and adapting to an ever-changing environment. 

Three Beliefs

The Reggio Emilia approach is based on the following three beliefs:

  • Children are capable of directing their own learning.
  • Children are natural collaborators with the world around them.
  • Children are instinctively good communicators and should be able to express themselves through the medium of their choice. This can be verbally, musically, artistically, mathematically, or other expressions. 

The Role of Adults

Using the Reggio Emilia approach, the role of the parent, childcare provider, or teacher is one of a partner rather than a facilitator. For instance, it is encouraged that the adult learns alongside the child and serves as a friend engaged in the experience instead of an authoritative and structured facilitator. However, as an adult, you can observe, reflect, and encourage ways the child can build upon and expand on what they are learning. This can lead to learning, development, and fun! 

Conclusion

The basic fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia approach are that children are innately curious and can navigate their own learning. If children are given the space to be themselves, have interests, play, question, and explore, then they will foster steadfast independence and creative thinking skills. These skills will enable them for a lifetime of learning and problem-solving. 

In essence, the Reggio Emilia method not only aids in helping a child grow academically but social-emotionally as well. When a child truly enjoys learning and has the confidence to seek out opportunities, they also become collaborators in their communities fostering social-skills and a greater sense of purpose.

Meet The Expert


Mirella Alexis

Mirella has been a family and childcare advocate for nearly two decades. With her bachelor’s degree in early childcare education, Mirella immediately started expanding her portfolio as a professional nanny, early childhood educator, and newborn care specialist. She later obtained her certification in child nutrition, positive discipline, and child abuse prevention. She expanded her professional reach more in 2016 by taking on the role of labor and postpartum doula. In 2020, Mirella became the Vice President of The Nanny Sitter Fund. She’s excited to be bringing her passion for childcare to the masses, making child welfare everyone’s responsibility. Learn more about her at MirellaAlexis.com