What is the Reggio approach?
The Reggio approach is a teaching philosophy adopted from the schools in Reggio Emilia in Italy. A school that uses the Reggio Emilia philosophy will say that they are Reggio Inspired which means they incorporate a few or many of the elements from the Reggio schools and have adapted them to suit their environment. See this post to learn more about the Reggio Approach.
What ages does one teach using the Reggio Emilia approach?
Most preschools are Reggio inspired. This is because the curriculum is more flexible and follows a more play based approach which lends itself to the Reggio philosophy.
Can one use the Reggio approach in higher/ older grades?
The higher grades feel more pressure from the curriculum and most schools will require teachers to follow the prescribed curriculum and workbooks and produce evidence that this has been done. It is therefore not as easy to implement the Reggio approach fully. However I have found that there are certain ways, ideas and attitudes towards learning that one could adapt into your class more as a general image of child. Some schools schedule time into their timetable for “Reggio” where they will take time to explore umbrella themes and let the children have more of a lead in the learning.
Why is there no set Reggio curriculum?
Reggio is a philosophy, and so it requires you to read the literature from Reggio and interpret the philosophy and how you will apply it to your school/home environment. Once you have learned more about the main guiding principles it is then up to you to decide how to implement it. This can be frustrating yet liberating. Depending on your school and what is expected such as portfolios, documentation, reports ect it will alter the ways in which you implement the approach. You do not have to empty your entire classroom and start again, you can start where you are, with what you have. You might want to make changes to the environment as you go, as you might find your current environment not suited to how you want to teach. Reggio is more about the way in which you teach rather than having the ‘perfect look’. I know of schools in very rural communities that implement the Reggio philosophy with minimal equipment and many children in a class.