Infant and Children Educational Schools

The Epochal Reggio Emilia Program

The epochal Reggio Emilia program for children up to the age of 5

is one of the most exciting developments in the world of education in

our age. It may be seen as an extension of the enquiring and liberal

traditions of this culturally-rich part of Northern Italy. It is used

as a model by progressive educators around the world and has the potential

to rival the long and abiding list of contributions to medicine and

psychiatry that has distinguished Bologna in academic circles for generations.

The local community has adopted this unique approach for over two decades

now and the methodology is recognized as being optimal in bringing out

the most creative expressions in infants and young children, whilst

protecting their rights.

The Reggio Emilia approach to developing young and formative minds

follows 7 key principles:

  • Teaching is based on what children seem to want to learn and

    on their deduced interests.

  • Children are allowed to determine the course of teaching and

    its form.

  • Multiple forms of expression are encouraged for holistic development.
  • Team building and group work is actively fostered.
  • Teachers are committed to a flexible approach to their vocation

    in the best interests of their wards.

  • Records of work done by children and their progress is preserved

    with diligence and used in an analytical framework.

  • Interior decor of classrooms and ambience are used to enhance

    the learning experience.

The genius of the Reggio Emilia approach to children’s education

lies in the close collaboration between parents and teachers in the

local community. This is accompanied by a sacred respect for the rights

of the children themselves. The model has now been copied in other countries

but a visit to Bologna and the surrounding area gives invaluable insights

in to the power of the system to develop sanguine and skilled citizens

of tomorrow. It may be, at least in part, an instinctive response to

the style of scholarship that has been ingrained in the minds of local

people for centuries.

The Reggio Emilia system sets infants on a lifetime of discovery

and civilized tolerance that has characterized the people of this area

during the past one thousand years and more. It is based on an undying

optimism about the power of the human intellect to discern and to interpret

complex data to form useful conclusions.

Much time is spent in listening to the developing vocabulary of infants

and observing their preferences, interests and choices as they begin

to increasingly use their minds. Parents interact with teachers in great

depth and frequently, in order to try and uncover the particular calling

and strengths that each child seems to have.

All media are used to bring information before the children and the

time spent on individual sets of information is carefully tailored to

meet individual interests. Children are encouraged to express themselves,

even when they are very small and are given lead in how they can gainfully

spend their study and activity times.

Writing, reading and speaking are not the only skills that are imparted

and every attempt is made to appeal to the type of intelligence and

capability that each child seems to possess. The spirit is to locate

and encourage the strengths of a child rather than follow the much regimented

style of learning that has produced mediocrity and suffocated creative

forces in so many other established teaching systems.

Children are encouraged to communicate, interact and bond with each

other and with their parents and teachers in like manner. The collaborative

and expressive tendencies of children are given leads and much effort

is made to form teams that help each member reach further than the individual

can hope to do. This greatly accelerates and helps the learning process.

Teachers don the garbs of learners and researchers with as much ease

as they perform directorial and administrative roles. They are flexible

in time schedules and approach to curricula, so that the needs and wants

of children are never suppressed or ignored. This helps the teachers

to evolve as people and enables them to remain relevant and current

as the environment undergoes subtle change.

All work done by children is kept with care and their interaction

is recorded as often as possible. These records are studied over time

and used for key deductions regarding the progress of the students and

about their ongoing and future needs. This approach eliminates or at

least reduces the subjective and sometimes repressive judgment of children

and lends itself to validation and research as well.

Colors and fixtures used in classrooms are used as active and major

means of education. Children are encouraged to use all their senses

in the learning process and have many demonstrative ways of acquiring

information and knowledge. The learning process is kept very alive with

constant reference to the immediate world around. The classroom layout

facilitates collaborative and group learning in a caring and helpful


It is a fact that Reggio Emilia has been a center of sustained excellence

in the fields of education and citizenship for generations. There can

be no doubt about the area’s cultural and literacy achievements and

it has surely produced many of the great thinkers such as Copernicus

over the ages. The full and exact reasons for such an unusual concentration

of human intellectual accomplishment is moot, but there can be no denying

that the Reggio Emilia approach to raising infants and to primary education

is exemplary and worthy of unabashed copy.

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