Reggio Emilia-Inspired Approach to Curriculum

Emergent Curriculum Learning is child-directed. Rather than teachers choosing an area of investigation or “theme to study” and giving the children isolated facts on a given subject, teachers work as researchers alongside the children. They carefully listen to the interests of the children, assisting the children in defining their questions as a place to begin investigations and express their knowledge.

Project Approach/Inquiry-based model

Project work is the method by which children and teachers explore in-depth the interests and ideas generated by the children. Teachers provide the materials, and help children identify their hypotheses and then work in collaboration with the children to pursue a course of study. Teachers provide continuous support through the process by adding questions and challenges to encourage the children to take their learning to deeper and deeper levels.

Hands-on, active learning

Research shows that children learn best through play, using their whole bodies in active learning. We honor this in our program, providing an abundance of learning opportunities through meaningful play. Everything in the classroom will be available to the children at all times, this is their space, we want them to feel ownership in their toys and materials. You will not hear our teachers telling children “you can’t touch that.” If it is something they aren’t able to use or explore with, it will not be in the room.

The environment

The environment is seen as the “third teacher” and is viewed as instrumental to a child’s educational experience. The classroom environment is composed thoughtfully and intentionally, with much time spent in deciding the placement of each object. Teachers work together to create opportunities for learning throughout the environment in addition to providing a safe, comfortable place for children to carry out their investigations. You will notice that the environment will change frequently, arranging supplies and items in a new way. This will help children adapt to change and will help them look at things in a new way.

Teachers as researchers

Teachers are committed to listening, observing, and documenting children’s work carefully throughout their investigative process. In this capacity, teachers are able to provoke, co-construct, stimulate new thinking, and foster children’s collaboration with each other.

For more information on the Reggio Emilia Approach, please see Edwards, C., Gandini, L., and Forman, G. (Eds.) The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1993.