Children's Garden Montessori School

Reggio Emilia

Montessori and Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia educational philosophy comes from the city of Reggio Emilia  in the northern Italy.  Reggio Emilia was heavily damaged during World War II, leaving families concerned about the education of their young children.   After the war, parents of the city sold a few horses and tank left behind by Germans forces, and began to build a school for their children.  They were joined by educator Loris Mallaguzzi, and together they began to develop schools they hoped would education children who were so secure, so intellectually and emotionally strong, and so connected with society, that never again could a Hitler rise to power in the world.

Mallaguzzi believed that children used “a hundred languages” to construct their understanding of the world – they talked, wrote, painted, danced, sang, hopped, drew, laughed, sculpted, imagined as they explored their world.   For those of us who have made it a career to observe young children, the notion that they use all their diverse powers to make sense of the world is easy to accept. We see it every day.   In 1991, Newsweek called the schools in Reggio Emilia among the best preschools in the world.

The Montessori and Reggio educational approaches share some common beliefs, one being that a prepared environment is so important to young children that it can be considered another teacher.  They share a similar view of children as being capable of initiating and managing much of their own learning by freely choosing activity within a carefully prepared environment.  There are some profound differences in the two philosophies, however, which opens the possibility for learning, and that teachers schooled in each approach might learn from each other’s ideas.  At Children’s Garden, we have chosen to incorporate some ideas from Reggo Emilia into our strong Montessori program.