Reggio Emilia Philosophy

Image of the Child:

The Schools of Reggio Emilia are founded on the “image of the child”. This refers to a perspective that honors children and sees them as “intelligent, capable, creative, resourceful, and worthy individuals”. Children are seen as protagonists. That is, that they are prepared, have potential, possess curiosity and interest in constructing their learning, negotiating with everything their environment brings to them.


The schools provide curriculum that questions children on what they think rather than traditional curriculum that injects adult thinking. The curriculum also asks children why they think that. The schools’ curriculum is based on children’s theories of why and how. By asking why and how, children are asked to think critically and to defend their thinking. However, in traditional education, adult-driven agendas (e.g. letters of the week) greatly limit the opportunities and possibilities for children. Typically, adult curriculum is irrelevant and meaningless to children’s lives.

In the schools, children are seen as individuals within a community of their peers, family, teachers, and society. Therefore small group projects are emphasized. The focus is on working as a team. Each child learns his/her essential role in the project.

Environment as the Third Teacher:

The schools have dynamic and beautiful environments to support and encourage the development of “intelligent, capable, creative, resourceful, and worthy individuals”. The use of space encourages encounters, communication and relationships. Every corner of every space has an identity and a purpose, is rich in potential to engage and communicate and is valued and cared for by the children and the adults.

Therefore children are provided with many materials in order to discover and communicate what they know, understand, wonder about, question, feel and imagine.


“Observe and listen to children because when they ask “why?” they are not simply asking for the answer from you. They are requesting the courage to find a collection of possible answers.”

“Observe and listen to children because when they ask “why?” they are not simply asking for the answer from you. They are requesting the courage to find a collection of possible answers.”

- Carlina Rinaldi


The teachers’ role is to “co-explore” the learning experience with the children and to provoke ideas, problem solve along side the children, but assisting the children to take lead. So during any conflict teachers take ideas from the children and ask them to return for further exploration. Teachers arrange the classroom; organize materials and set-up enticing “provocations”. Teachers’ role is also to document by notes, photos, movies, and drawings for later study. Through these studies, teachers inject meaningful curriculum.

Teachers facilitate children’s exploration of themes, work on short and long term projects and guide experiences of joint, open ended discovery and problem solving. To know how to plan and proceed with their work, teachers listen and observe children closely. Teachers ask questions; discover children’s ideas, hypotheses and theories, and provide occasions for discovery and learning. The teachers see themselves as researchers preparing the documentation of their work with children who they also see as researchers.

An Atelier (or art studio):

The Atelier is known in the schools of Reggio Emilia as the “heart of the school”. Because the Atelier houses all the materials, it is a place where the learning begins. And like the heart pumping blood through the body, the ideas from the Atelier flow throughout the school. There are a variety of art materials from which the Atelierista and teachers create curriculum. Also from the Atelier, the children choose materials to explore and express themselves.

An Atelierista (or artist):

Who works with the children in the Atelier. An Atelierista’s role is to facilitate the children in their projects. But also the Atelierista guides children to make thoughtful decisions about the media and possibilities of explorations with the media. The Atelierista has knowledge of aesthetics, design, color and materials. The Atelierista is responsible for arranging materials in natural and aesthetically pleasing ways.


Teachers’ documentation’s role is to communicate the work and ideas that flow through the school. Careful consideration and attention are given to the presentation of the thinking of the children and the adults who work with them.

Therefore major focus is paid to documentation of children and teacher’s work. This is done to provide an ongoing flow of information to families enabling them to have a more involved relationship with the school.


The Hundred Languages of Children:

This refers to the different mediums children use to express themselves. The schools also focus on the “intelligences” of children through, which symbolic representation is created. These include words, drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, building, wood working, clay, wire, sewing, movement, play with light and shadow, dramatic play, and music. Focusing on all these different symbolic representations help children to reach deeper levels of communication. Children learn how to communicate more meaningfully – what they know, understand, wonder about, question, feel and imagine. Through these symbolic representations, children make their thinking visible. And therefore are provided with many materials.

Parents and families:

In the schools, parents and families are seen as partners in the child’s learning journey alongside the teachers, because the ideas and exchange of ideas between parents/families and teachers create a stronger, more organic way of educating. Teachers view the participation of parents/families as co-teachers who provide important information to aid in the teachers’ research.

La Crescenta California, 91214       (818) 696-3151      Lic# 198018535

La Crescenta California, 91214
(818) 696-3151
Lic# 198018535