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Nurturing Preschooler Learning: The Reggio Emilia Approach

Expertly reviewed by Danielle Joanne Villanueva Munji, OTRP · Occupational Therapy · Kids' S.P.O.T. Learning and Therapy Center, Inc.

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Oct 18, 2022

Nurturing Preschooler Learning: The Reggio Emilia Approach

Preschool and primary education are two of the most vital school years of a child. There are a lot of teaching methods available that can help nurture a child’s development, such as the Reggio Emilia Approach.

reggio emilia approach

Reggio Emilia Approach: Child-led Learning

The Reggio Emilia approach was developed by pedagogist and psychologist Loris Malaguzzi after World War II. The approach was created in collaboration with the parents from the surrounding villages of Reggio Emilia, thus the name.

This early education method was created, so young children can learn based on their interests, capabilities, and experiences. The approach is all about experience-based, play-based, and child-led learning.

What is the Reggio Emilia approach all about?

The Reggio Emilia approach believes that children will continue and enjoy learning when they have the independence to choose what and how to learn rather than being told what to do.

The approach uses the following learning methods:

Play-based learning

It is all about setting up an environment where children can learn and develop various skills through playing.

Experienced-based learning

This approach helps children learn and hone their abilities by letting them learn things through first-hand experience. This approach is more effective than educating children by forcing them to listen to somebody else’s perspective.

Child-led learning

This is a key aspect of the Reggio Emilia Approach since this type of learning is about the children’s freedom to choose what to learn when to learn it, and how long they can keep their attention towards a certain subject. Child-led learning also gives importance to self-paced learning where in there is no pressure to get high grades and such.

Key principles of the Reggio Emilia approach

The child

The approach believes that children can learn by themselves through pure curiosity, exploration, and creativity. They are the active participants in learning as they experience everything first-hand.

Like the concept of the “100 Languages of Children”, the approach asserts that there are multiple ways children can effectively express themselves.

The approach encourages children to utilize every material available to effectively showcase their abilities and uniqueness.

The teachers and parents

The teachers and parents are only there to listen and observe and let the children pave the way for their own learning.

They may arrange the environment to best suit the child’s needs, interests and skills.

Teachers and parents must also collaborate in explaining complicated subjects of activities to children.

reggio emilia approach

The environment as the third teacher

Reggio Emilia provides children with a learning environment where they can freely learn and develop their abilities.

An indoor setting must be wide and open and complete with different types of tools and materials. Having these materials available can help boost the children’s curiosity and creativity.

Outdoor settings are also as important as an indoor learning environment. Since there are a lot of natural resources available outside, children can use these to further stimulate their development.


Documentation is the educator’s way to show how children work.

One way of showing children that their work matters is by displaying photographs of their projects and showing them videos of their past activities.

Through these, children will see the result of their work, and they will also have an idea of where they can still improve.

Teachers use documentation to identify the children’s weaknesses, strengths, ideas, and use it to support their learning in the future.

Benefits of the Reggio Emilia approach

Here are the learnings that Reggio Emilia approach imparts to children:

  • Children become competent at solving problems.
  • They engage more with their environment and community.
  • They become more aware of their environment.
  • Children become more open to new experiences and ideas.
  • They are able to improve social skills.
  • Children enjoy learning and become more eager to learn.
  • They can express their feelings, thoughts, and uniqueness with confidence and grace.

Even though the approach focuses on the ability of children to learn on their own, it will only be effective if parents and teachers observe and learn when to engage with their child.

Key takeaways

The Reggio Emilia approach is a great learning method for young children, since they are just starting to learn new things that they are not familiar with.

This approach will help children learn more about themselves and become more aware of their environment.

Not only will it help children develop their skills and abilities, but it will also help parents realize the value of letting their children explore on their own while guiding them every step of the way.

 Learn more about Preschooler, here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Danielle Joanne Villanueva Munji, OTRP

Occupational Therapy · Kids' S.P.O.T. Learning and Therapy Center, Inc.

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Oct 18, 2022

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