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Teachers and parents are constantly asking the same question: How do we get children excited about learning?

When it comes to teaching young children, we know that rote learning can be the very thing that drives them away. Making education practical and immersive in the early years is a good place to start, then the fun is sure to follow.

The Reggio Emilia approach is masterful at teaching children through play. The early childhood education philosophy encourages children to draw on their:

  • untapped and unlimited potential
  • curiosity
  • unique insights into their own learning
  • scientific minds to experiment and learn through play.

In a nutshell, the Reggio Emilia approach works because it fundamentally addresses children’s curiosity and creativity more effectively than traditional learning approaches.

How does it work?

The Reggio Emilia philosophy can be easily understood through three important concepts:

  1. Respect for the child.
  2. Emphasis on building relationships.
  3. The power of the learning environment.

Louise Boyd Cadwell, author, teacher and former Reggio Emilia fellow, says the approach is successful because “each child is viewed as infinitely capable, creative, and intelligent. The job of the teacher is to support these qualities and to challenge students in appropriate ways.” Children are put at the centre of the learning experience and are treated as the ‘knowledge bearers’. This immerses them in the learning experience, and gives them ownership and space to develop their own love of learning.

Why the Reggio Emilia approach works

  1. A unique and specific learning journey

Reggio Emilia doesn’t just throw kids in the deep end. The approach tracks each child along a specific learning journey. Its flexible and child-centric learning approach allows children to be immersed and to explore their learning tasks in greater depth. Project-based learning activities are tailored to support this aim and to enrich learners with a healthy understanding of concepts, within the context of the greater world. Most importantly, children actually have fun learning. This makes them want to learn more, and learn more often.

  1. Encourages strong social and interpersonal skills

The Reggio Emilia approach builds strong relationships and networks between children, teachers, parents and the greater community. Children are constantly practising empathy and positive social skills in order to better understand the role of friendship and the needs of others.

  1. Self-discovery through the environment

The environment is used to support practical educational insights, in particular a strong use of outdoor settings. A Reggio Emilia classroom will be immediately distinguishable through its use of vibrant colours and welcoming material. There is a strong focus on sensory learning and outdoor lessons as a form of experiential learning – like an apprentice would undergo.

The unique opportunities a Reggio Emilia approach offers your child

  • Practical skills in the context of real world environments.
  • An environment that stimulates learning.
  • Outdoor education experiences.
  • Using ‘play’ to learn complicated concepts.
  • Connecting children to the greater community.
  • Developing positive social skills .
  • Intuitive insights into the needs of others.
  • Room for self-discovery.
  • Long-term project learning.
  • Incorporating different learning languages – writing, building, sculpting and dramatic play. 

If you’d like to find out more on how the Reggio Emilia approach is applied at The Scots College, download our brochure The Scots Journey, which follows a day-in-the-life of our youngest students.

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