Understanding Educational Progress

4 Things Parents Should Know About The Reggio Emilia Approach In Preschool

If you are the parent of a preschooler, you may have recently heard about the Reggio Emilia approach. The Reggio Emilia approach, developed in Italy, is relatively new to the US, having been practiced here for about 20 years, but it is gaining in popularity. It is a method that values the child within the family and culture. It utilizes the environment as a teacher, documentation shared with the community, and a child-led approach. Here are some things you should know about it:

It Is An Approach, Not A Curriculum 

Reggio Emilia is an approach to child development. It is a set of philosophies that direct how a teacher, parents, and child learn together. But it is not a rigid curriculum. This means that how Reggio Emilia is applied in one classroom can be significantly different than how it is applied in another classroom. It is less structured than a method such as Montessori, which has specific learning tools, and it has more of a focus on community and group exploration than Waldorf. 

Teachers May Practice It Without The Entire School Practicing It 

While there are entire centers and schools that adopt the Reggio Emilia approach, it is more common for individual teachers within a school to use the approach in their classroom. Because of this, you may see a classroom set up in the Reggio Emilia style while the playground and common areas may not follow the philosophy.  

It Can Be Combined With Other Methods, Theories, or Concepts

Many early childhood educators do not use a single method or approach. Instead, they utilize the parts of different approaches that best fit their teaching style and current classroom. Because of this, you will often see Reggio Emilia concepts mixed into a more structured approach such as Montessori or Waldorf. 

You Can Practice Reggio Emilia at Home 

Whether or not your child's teacher adheres to Reggio Emilia principles, it is possible for you and your child to implement parts of the philosophy at home. For example, you can encourage your child to play with loose parts or items found in nature. You can also explore questions with them through projects instead of answering their questions directly. If your child is exposed to the Reggio Emilia approach at school, this will feel familiar and fun to them. However, if they have a different approach at school, it may take some time for both you and your child to adjust to this approach. 

Contact a company like Kid's Country Learning Center for more information and assistance.