Parents choosing an early childhood program to fit their child often grapple between different philosophical approaches. Reggio Emilia is a philosophy that originated in Northern Italy in the late 1940s. It was developed as a collaboration between community members and educator Loris Malaguzzi, and has now been embraced throughout the world.
What is Reggio Emilia?
Reggio Emilia early childhood programs are founded on the philosophy that children are active participants in their own education. Young students are viewed as competent and capable of complex thinking. Using a project-based learning approach, instructors engage the interests of students with projects lasting weeks, months, or even years with students being given opportunities to learn in a variety of ways such as theater, writing, and other creative arts.
Termed “the hundred languages” by Malaguzzi, this concept refers to the endless capacity of children’s potentials; their multiple ways of seeing and being, and limitless ability to wonder and inquire. Another significant aspect of the philosophy is that children are recognized as citizens of the world and are seen as an integral part of the larger, surrounding community.
How to integrate Reggio Emilia at home
While the original programs in Italy can’t be fully replicated, the philosophy can be used when teaching children at home.
Wonder of Learning exhibit coming to Ann Arbor
The Wonder of Learning-Hundred Languages of Children traveling exhibition was created by educators from Reggio Emilia programs in Italy. The traveling exhibit is coming to Ann Arbor from June 15-August 27 at the Duderstadt Center on U of M North Campus, 2281 Bonisteel Blvd. Families are welcome and admission is free. Learn more at wonderoflearning.umich.edu.
Programs in Washtenaw County inspired by Reggio Emilia Philosophy:
Green Apple Garden Play School greenapplegarden.weebly.com.
Sunshine Special Studios unshinespecialstudio.com.
The U School theubuntuschool.com
U of M North Campus Children’s Centers hr.umich.edu/benefitswellness/family/childrens-centers
“It has been said that the environment should act as a kind of aquarium which reflects the ideas, ethics, attitudes, and cultures of the people who live in it.” –Loris Malaguzzi.
Provide your children with a limited variety of materials to support their one hundred languages. Offer natural materials such as leaves, sticks, and rocks. Collect recycled materials such a boxes, containers. Think about using open-ended materials to support investigation and multiple uses. Provide natural lighting and child-sized furniture for a functional and calming workspace.
Children as Capable
Create a home culture that views children through strengths and capabilities, even at the youngest ages. Establish an active attitude of listening between adults, children, and the environment where learning is negotiated. Provide opportunities for your child to cooperate in everyday living experiences such as cooking, getting snacks for themselves, setting the table for dinner, watering plants, and caring for pets.