Reggio Emilia Approach

Child-driven, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments
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What is the Reggio Emilia Approach?

At St Nicholas, our curriculum and philosophy are both inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education and care. The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy and pedagogy focused on young children that is child-centred and uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. Educational programs inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach are based on principles of respect, responsibility and community through exploration, discovery and play. 

At the core of this philosophy is the notion that children form their own personalities during the early years and are endowed with ‘a hundred languages’ (e.g. painting, sculpting, drama etc), through which they can express their ideas. The aim of the Reggio Approach is to teach children how to use these symbolic languages in everyday life. 

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Core principles

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Children must have some control over the direction of their learning
Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening and observing
Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that they must be allowed to explore
Children have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves

100 languages

‘The hundred languages of children’ is a core principle of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education. It recognises that children possess multiple forms of expression, including art, music, movement and more, beyond verbal language. This approach values the diverse ways children learn and encourages educators to create engaging environments that allow children to explore and communicate through various languages. By embracing these languages, educators support holistic development and nurture children’s natural curiosity and love for learning.

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No way. The hundred is there.

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.

The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

– Loris Malaguzzi

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