Reggio Emilia Approach

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What is The Reggio Emilia Approach?

The Reggio Emilia Approach is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education which values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. Every child brings with them deep curiosity and potential and this innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it.
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Shortly after World War II, in the city of Villa Cella – located in the northern part of Italy known as Emilia-Romagna, women and men searched for inspirations to rebuild their lives and community with hopes for a better world. They looked towards the future and found hope no further than in their own young children. The community came together to build a school for their children from the ruins of the war.
Few decades later, the traditional community engagement of parents and teachers were faced with the need to accommodate the expectations of the New World and new ways to integrate innovation in education.
During this period, Loris Malaguzzi – a schoolteacher who became the leader of Reggio Emilia’s educational philosophy in Italy, took upon himself the responsibility to carry on the educational approach and advocate for the city government to take charge of the children’s education by opening the first municipal school in 1963.
The years ahead allowed Malaguzzi to expand his knowledge in education. He travelled abroad and found inspirations from Dewey, Piaget, Vygostky and other educational philosophers. He embraced innovative ways of educating children and in preparing future educators to continue sharing the Reggio Emilia Approach.
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy centered on the child. Its principles are founded in the competence of the child and see them as creators of their own knowledge; it focuses on the child and its relation to the community; emphasizes the importance of parent’s collaboration in the child’s learning process and values the influence of the environment to instigate curiosity and exploration.
The vision of Reggio Emilia preschools is constantly being recreated and evolving in classrooms around the world.

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Frequently Asked Questions Reggio Emilia Preschools

What is the Reggio Emilia Preschool Approach?

The Reggio Emilia preschool approach is a progressive and innovative teaching philosophy in early childhood education that is rooted in the belief that children are highly capable and competent learners with their own unique interests and ideas.

Reggio Emilia preschools often utilize open-ended materials, group dynamics, project-based learning, and the arts to facilitate children’s self-exploration. The Reggio Emilia approach also strongly emphasizes relationships, communication, and partnerships between other students, teachers, parents, and the community.

Are There Other Reggio Emilia Preschools in San Diego?

Yes, there are a couple of Reggio Emilia preschools in San Diego, although they may not be as commonly found as Montessori programs. Ekobé is the only Reggio Emilia preschool in San Diego that also offers preschool language programs and multilingual education in addition to a Reggio Emilia approach.

Is Reggio Emilia the Same as Montessori?

No, Reggio Emilia preschools and Montessori preschools are not the same. Reggio Emilia offers child-centric learning experiences in group settings and group dynamics. In contrast, Montessori education focuses on fostering independence and self-directed learning at the child’s own pace. Both approaches, however, aim to empower children to develop a lifelong love for learning and a strong sense of autonomy.

What is a Typical Day Like at a Reggio Emilia Preschool?

Arrival: This is a transitional time, and builds practical social and interactive skills that will last a lifetime.

Discovery and Exploration: This is free exploration time in learning centers (called provocation centers). These will be in small group settings or whole class settings and revolve around the arts (music and art-making).

Community Meeting: Children will gather as a group to share thoughts and ideas for the
day, ask questions, and set expectations that will be observed by the teacher and
integrated into the curriculum.

Outdoor Active Learning: During outdoor activities, children develop large motor skills
while exploring open spaces.

Snack Time and Lunch Time (Preceded by Hand Washing): Children enjoy nutritious snacks and meals together inside or outside, and are taught how to properly wash their hands beforehand.

Rest Time: The teacher will play soft music and dim the lights while the children sleep and rest.

Cozy Time: This is a quiet and cozy time to read books while children are waking up from their nap.

Afternoon Play: Children will have the freedom to choose their play and activities during this time.

Dismissal Routine: Children gather their belongings and say goodbye to their friends and teacher for the day.

Keep reading! You can get answers to other common questions in our blog, such as what is the preschool age in San Diego, how much preschool costs, and what children learn in preschool.