The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education / Care

We care, nurture and educate our children to help them explore and value their world.

Waterdown District Children's Centre

The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment at the centre of its philosophy. Early childhood programs adapted to this educational philosophy share an approach on viewing and respecting the child as a part of the learning/caring process.

Parents are a vital component to the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. We consult regularly with parents on ways to adapt our program to their needs and keep detailed logs of children's activities, progress and any noteworthy events to share with the parents. Teachers respect parents as each child's first teacher and involve parents whereever possible. It is not uncommon to see parents visiting or to assist on field trips. This philosophy does not end when the child leaves the classroom. Most parents who choose to send their children to a program like this intrinsically incorporate many of the same principles within their parenting and home life.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:

  • Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
  • Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing;
  • Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore and
  • Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

One of the key benefits of the Reggio Emilia approach is that the program is adaptive and not focussed on a specific curriculum sequence for reading and writing. Instead it is a child-focused curriculum that is adapted quarterly and even daily to the expressed interests and needs of a caregiver's particular group of children. Language is explored symbolically through art and other expressive means to help give children a firm basis in expressing themselves appropriately to support more formal teaching.

Those needs are explored with the children, and then facilitated by the caregiver through a wide range of activities including exploration, play, art, exercise, reading, audio and visual appreciation. Unlike many other programs, there is an emphasis on safe experiences out of doors and interaction and exploration of nature and science throughout the year.