Preschools and learning environments inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach

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The Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education. All photos used courtesy of Jenny at Let the Children Play unless otherwise noted.

Jenny at Let the Children Play has been running a three-part series about Reggio-inspired preschools. This caught my eye for a few reasons: 1) I’d never heard of Reggio-inspired anything, 2) I’m always interested in different kinds of preschools, and 3) some of these are just really amazing to behold.

I asked Jenny to give our readers a little intro to what “Reggio-inspired” means, and here’s what she had to say:

The Reggio Emilia approach was founded in Italy after World War II. At the heart of the Reggio philosophy is the belief that children are full of curiosity and creativity; they are not empty memory banks waiting to be filled. The Reggio goal is to cultivate within children a lifelong passion for learning and exploration. You can also visit the official Reggio Emilia page for more information.

Here are a few of my favorites of the learning environments she featured!

The Kensington Preschool is in South Australia… all you Aussies out there may want to take heed! This school’s gardens look like a perfect wonderland:

I’m not sure where this school is located, but I love the natural materials creative play area!

This music frame is absolutely serene. Photo by Reggio Reflections.

Check out this spider garden!

Photo by Extraordinary Clasrooms.

Want more? You can see part one, two, and three of Jenny’s Reggio-inspired series by clicking each link.

Comments on Preschools and learning environments inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach

  1. My daughter is in a Reggio inspired preschool and we lovelovelove it! We turned down a spot in a highly sought after Montessori after being wait listed over a year and it’s one of the best parenting decisions I think I’ve made so far. I dread when it’s time for primary school and really wish there were good options where we live to continue with this kind of program for the long haul.

  2. It’s so great that you all are getting the word out!
    We love this approach to education.
    My son is in the 6th grade now and attends a public charter Waldorf inspired school, The Village School (they are called this throughout the nation if you are looking for something similar to Reggio Emilia).
    Although he loves his school and community, I would love it if he wanted to home school so that we could continue with the play approach.
    Being in a public school full time can be very exhausting.
    Have fun everyone and keep playing!

  3. Our school district is making a big push for Reggio Inspired pre-schools, and I have visited many. I spend one day volunteering in one and it was so magical!

  4. These schools look awesome! But that Smith College Center is $20k a year for an infant…

  5. As a teacher in a Reggio preschool I am so excited to see the philosophy featured here! It is such a wonderful movement to be a part of and we need help spreading the word 🙂

    • I could not agree more! As educators we not only have the responsibilty to lead educational experiences for our students but also for our familys, parents, and community. The more we spread the word and the more we band together about what best practices are for children in early education is the only way we will begin to see thinking change, in homes and in elementary schools. So excited to see so many supporters out there “Yeah” Reggio Phylosophy “what a beautiful thing”

  6. I love Reggio preschools and environments. So welcoming and inviting and just strives to increase the imagination and creativity in kids – and adults! So awesome to see it featured here.

  7. I love love love Reggio Emilia preschools and grade schools. A friend of mine used to work in a grade school, and it was just completely terrific all around. But they’re among the most expensive options in my area, more than Waldorf or Montessori in some cases. 🙁 So it’s pretty unlikely I’ll actually send a child to one.

  8. Does teaching at a Reggio Emilia inspired school require special training like Waldorf and Montessori schools?

  9. As an Italian I just want to point out that if you say Reggio and not Reggio Emilio people are gonna assume you are talking about a different place 😉 There is a Reggio Calabria in Italy as well, usually shortened to Reggio. It would actually have more sense to shorten to Emilia rather than Reggio, because then people would know what you are talking about.

  10. I love this! It reminds me of something we have here in NZ, Playcentre is an early childhood education and parenting organisation which is parent run. My daughter attends 3 days a week and I do one duty day (as do all other centre members). We base our philosophy around child initiated play, learning through play and the value of mixed age (birth-schoolage) sessions. It’s so exciting to see stuff like this being promoted around the world as I really believe it’s the best way!

  11. The public school system in the town I live in is Reggio centered. My son is in Pre-K right now, and he has LOVED it. Particularly as a parent with a child that is on the Autism Spectrum this approach has been wonderful. My son loves going to school every day (so much so that in the mornings when he wants to sleep longer we simply suggest that he won’t be able to go to school that day and next thing he’s bounding out of bed cause he doesn’t want to miss a day!). He’s gone from severe delays to being close to caught up with his peers, and a lot of that is because of his amazing teachers as well as the child centered approach of this system.

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