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Reggio Emilia Educational Philosophy
THE BIRTH OF REGGIO
The Reggio approach had its beginnings in 1945 in the municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Loris Malaguzzi, an innovator in education, developed an educational philosophy based on relationships between children, parents, and teachers. He emphasized both children and teachers as co-learners exploring and living together, using tools of listening, observing, and flexibility to create the learning space.
Rather than following a standard curriculum model with pre-determined units of study, the Reggio Curriculum has an underlying structure based on guided learning and collaboration. This approach engages the interests and skills of each individual child, interweaving teachings on a broad range of disciplines through real world learning. Within each Reggio community, short and long term projects emerge that highlight children’s learning processes.
REGGIO COMPARED TO MONTESSORI, WALDORF
There are many educational philosophies that emphasize the child at the center of the learning process. These approaches have points at which they build on common knowledge and share similar values, and other points at which they diverge. All three philosophies emphasize the development of the whole child and experiential learning based on doing and exploring. Each philosophy encourages children to be responsible for their space and bodies, and learn independent skills. Montessori and Waldorf have formal methods of teaching/learning, whereas the Reggio approach defines itself as an evolving experience of creating enriching learning spaces.