When it comes to choosing a private preschool, the options can seem almost limitless. Dozens of options are available, with an equally diverse range of approaches. One such approach is the Reggio Emilia model. Here are a few things to know about this schooling style.
Reggio Emilia-inspired preschools focus on child-centered class structure and instruction. Teachers serve as a guide, helping students to find their own way to learn and grow as they progress through their education. There is an emphasis on cultivating imagination through curriculum based on children’s interests. Children may interact with materials and projects in a field of interest for a couple of weeks or even the entire school year. This model makes space for authentic learning and discovery, while still allowing teachers to introduce early academic concepts in an applicable way.
In contrast with Montessori and Waldorf schools, Reggio Emilia-style schools do not require specialized teacher training. Proponents of the approach believe that teachers and home educators (i.e. parents) can gain knowledge of the concepts through observation of the strategies in practice at a Reggio school. Teachers are not certified in the style, but they do practice the principles in Reggio-inspired classrooms.
Early education schools following the Reggio model are not called “Reggio Emilia schools” unless they are situated in the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy, or surrounding regions. Schools following those principles which are located outside of that geographic location may simply be called “Reggio Emilia-inspired schools”. Many preschools send teachers or representatives to Italy to observe principles in practice within true Reggio schools.
The Reggio Emilia approach is a straightforward, child-focused style of early education. While it is not formal or traditional, it allows children to own their learning journey and expose them to ample opportunities for real-world learning.