The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Years Education

Topics: Reggio Emilia approach, Reggio Emilia, Education Pages: 61 (17384 words) Published: March 25, 2012
The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Years Education

I wish to express my sincere thanks to Pat Wharton, Diane Alexander and Eileen Carmichael for their generous contributions to the first and second editions of this document. I would also like to thank all the children, educators and parents of the many Reggio schools who gave so generously of their time and answered my questions with enthusiasm and patience. And finally, a special thankyou to Ruben, Sebastian and Emily … my three Reggio children!

First published 1999 New edition published 2006 © Learning and Teaching Scotland 2006 ISBN-13: 978-184399-136-6 ISBN-10: 1-84399-135-7


Background General Information What is the ‘Reggio Approach’? The Image of the Child The Expressive Arts in the Pre-school: ‘The Hundred Languages’ Progettazione Community and Parent–School Relationships Environment Teachers as Learners

What can the Scottish Early Years Education System Learn from the Reggio Approach? Adaptation of a Pedagogical Approach Reflecting on Current Practice Physical Features Time Collaboration Partnership with Parents Curriculum The Role of the Adult Documentation Initial Teacher Training and Professional Development

Books News Articles Reports Conference Papers




In educational terms the northern Italian town of Reggio Emilia has a firmly established worldwide reputation for forward thinking and excellence in its approach to early childhood education. North American and Scandinavian educators have long recognised the importance of the continuing educational development that is taking place in the Reggio model, and there is much about the approach that is of interest to educators in Scotland. It is a socio-constructivist model. That is, it is influenced by the theory of Lev Vygotsky, which states that children (and adults) co-construct their theories and knowledge through the relationships that they build with other people and the surrounding environment. It also draws on the work of others such as Jean Piaget, Howard Gardner and Jerome Bruner. It promotes an image of the child as a strong, capable protagonist in his or her own learning, and, importantly, as a subject of rights. It is distinguished by a deeply embedded commitment to the role of research in learning and teaching. It is an approach where the expressive arts play a central role in learning and where a unique reciprocal learning relationship exists between teacher and child. Much attention is given to detailed observation and documentation of learning and the learning process takes priority over the final product. It is a model that demonstrates a strong relationship between school and community and provides a remarkable programme for professional development. Since this paper was first written, in 1998, the town of Reggio Emilia has undergone significant change and evolution at a socio-cultural and demographic level. The population of this medium sized Italian town was 135,406 in 1995 and according to the 2004 census now stands at 155.1911. This population growth is due to a number of factors, such as the increase of the average lifespan, an increase in the birth rate (which is significantly higher than in other parts of northern Italy) and increasing immigration both from other parts of Italy and from other countries, both within and outwith the European Union. Reggio Emilia is a very prosperous town that boasts a strong cultural heritage, historic architecture and beautiful squares. The citizens of Reggio Emilia are served by generally efficient public services. The town has a strong tradition of co-operation and inclusion that cuts across social and economic boundaries, and politically the people continue to show their support for the Socialist Parties. Increased immigration, however, has undoubtedly created new challenges for Reggio Emilia and the town is experiencing a period...
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