Reggio Emilia: In a Nut Shell
Reggio History and Methodology
Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the education philosophy used in the town of Reggio Emilia in Italy, believed that all children are strong, intelligent, capable from birth, and interested in connecting with the world around them. With that belief the role of the teacher changes, from that of a teacher to that of a listener and researcher, someone who co-creates learning with the child. It has underpinned the educational project of the municipal schools and infant toddler centres of Reggio Emilia, Italy since 1945.
Reggio Emilia is a strong alternative to traditional education. Children are naturally curious, they strive to understand the world, and as they learn and grow they make their own theories about how the world works, theories that make sense to them. ‘To educate’ is a derivation of the latin word exclucere, which means to ‘bring out’. Reggio works to ‘bring out’ knowledge rather than ‘fill in’, which provides opportunities for growth and a sense of protagonism (leadership), individuality, and awareness of how learning is constructed.
The learning revolves around the childrens’ interests, they are the centre and they co-construct knowledge with their peers, the environment and adults (both teachers and parents). Learning takes place when ideas, concepts and theories are shared among others.
To us at the Little Explorers Club, the philosophy of Reggio resonates with the way the world is changing and enabling our children by giving them a voice, allowing them to be heard, respected and their input appreciated as well as giving them the space to debate and theorise and come up with their own solutions, ones which they can use many pathways to get to, will go a long way in preparing them for their futures. Critical Thinking skills, negotiation and problem solving are learnt at a young age and hopefully continually developed as they grow.