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Reggio Emilia Homeschool Method

What is the Reggio Emilia Approach and How Can You Bring the Reggio Emilia Philosophy Home?

By Mindy Scirri, Ph.D.

What do we recall best of our own childhoods? Do we remember our textbooks and formal lessons or do we, instead, focus our memories on our time spent playing and exploring and investigating the world with others? When we think about our own primary educational experiences, we often think fondly about the school projects we completed where our own ideas guided the learning that we constructed. Remember those models, dioramas, posters, research projects, and one-act plays? We often worked the hardest on projects like those and also felt the most pride in their results. How would you like to bring creative exploration and project-based learning into your preschool or primary homeschool through the Reggio Emilia approach?

 

 

What is the Reggio Emilia Approach?

Pros and Cons of a Reggio Emilia Homeschool Tips for Using the Reggio Emilia Philosophy
Support for Families Using the Reggio Emilia Method at Home  

Resources for Your Reggio Emilia Homeschool

*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although many of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.

 

What is the Reggio Emilia Approach?

The Reggio Emilia approach is based on certain core values. Central to the philosophy is the notion that children have tremendous potential for learning and are able to build knowledge and creativity through their experiences. The approach emphasizes participation with others, discussion, and research and exploration. Learning is documented rather than scripted, and time and materials are organized to maximize opportunities for exploration and creativity in the environmental spaces in which children work. Through their interactions with these environments, children develop priorities in caring for their spaces and the objects they use as materials change from project to project. All of this is done without pre-defined programs and structured curriculum.

How did the Reggio Emilia approach begin? Well, this form of emergent curriculum started with the thinking of Loris Malaguzzi, who was born in Correggio, Italy, in 1920 and grew up in Reggio Emilia, Italy. His work, along with that of others in his municipality helped to create a network of infant-toddler centers and preschools. The child-centered approach is based on Malaguzzi’s poem, “No way. The Hundred is There,” which celebrates all the abilities inherent in each child and warns of the impacts that school and culture can have on those abilities when the potential of children is not realized.

Is Reggio Emilia the same as Waldorf or Montessori? There are some similarities, like the focus on children’s interests and beauty and the use of natural materials, but there are also some differences. Each of these methods can offer young children a unique learning experience.

Find out more about the Reggio Emilia approach to education here:

Curriculum Feature: The Reggio Emilia Approach—A Child-Led Learning Approach in the Preschool Years | Homeschool Singapore
Read this detailed description of the Reggio Emilia approach and what it might look like in your homeschool. Discover the environment as a silent third teacher and some reasons for choosing the Reggio Emilia method.

North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA)
Explore this website to find out about the Reggio Emilia approach, learn about advocacy efforts, and find resources for parents and educators. You can also become a member or attend NAREA events, like conferences, in the US or all over the world.

Reggio Emilia Inspired Practice
If you are serious about starting your own Reggio Emilia homeschool, you will want to work through this website with these six training objectives followed by a quiz on each one: history and influences of the Reggio Emilia approach, evaluation of the Reggio Emilia philosophy, analysis of the four main principles of Reggio Emilia practice, exploration of the ways to capture children’s thinking, documentation of learning, and reflection on your role as an educator.

What is the Reggio Emilia Approach | Homeschool PH
Read this overview of the Regio Emilia philosophy, “the hundred languages,” and its core features: emergent curriculum, in-depth projects, representational development, and collaboration. Find out what the approach looks like in homeschools.

 

Pros and Cons of a Reggio Emilia Homeschool

There are many benefits to project-based learning, in general. Considering the Reggio Emilia approach specifically, children blossom when they are encouraged to explore their environments and learn through play by following their own interests. They are allowed to use their “hundred languages” with creativity and imagination, free from limitations of textbooks and scripted curriculum. Children learn to find new uses for materials and collaborate with others to construct knowledge rather than have it dispensed to them, helping them to develop into well-adjusted lifelong learners.

While you may be able to envision even more benefits of such a learning method, a new homeschooler may find the lack of a formal curriculum challenging and may fear that learning in certain areas is missing. Setting up the proper environment and learning opportunities may require quite a bit of preparation, too—especially at the beginning. The important lesson, then, for new homeschoolers using the Reggio Emilia approach is to network with other Reggio homeschoolers and use the books and other resources that are out there.

 

Tips for Using the Reggio Emilia Philosophy

Some of the resources available to you include websites that focus on the Reggio Emilia approach to education, homeschooling organizations, and other families willing to share and post their ideas and successes. Here are some resources where you can find valuable tips for using the Reggio Emilia philosophy in your homeschool:

 

  

A Day in Our Reggio-Inspired Kindergarten Homeschool | Artful Teaching. Joyful Learning.
Explore this Kindergarten homeschool based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy through photos and descriptions. Find ideas for activities and even a daily schedule.

An Everyday Story
Get some ideas from this Reggio and Montessori-inspired homeschool and see an example of a daily schedule you could use in your own homeschool.

How Do You Incorporate Reggio Learning into Elementary Homes? | Buckets & Berries
Learn how this family uses the Reggio Emilia method as a basis for mix modalities in both the flow of the day and in the environment by also incorporating aspects of other homeschooling methods.

How to Get Started with Project-Based Homeschooling | Bethany Ishee
Read this eclectic homeschooler’s thoughts on how the Reggio Emilia philosophy and project-based learning can easily be PART of what you do in your homeschool. Find tips for working with several children, including younger children and tweens/teens. Sign up for a free project-based homeschooling eBook!

 

 

How to Use Project-Based Learning in Your Homeschool | Homeschool.com
If it is the project-based learning aspect of Reggio Emilia that attracts you, you can find out some information from this post about the benefits of project-based learning, how you can use it in the homeschool, and where to find project-based learning resources.

Project-Based Homeschooling | Fearless Homeschooling
Discover the importance of both the environment and the learning journal, as well as some good and not-so-good points of project-based homeschooling (though the not-so-goods are not many!).

Reggio Emilia at Home | Spielgaben
Read an overview of the Reggio Emilia approach, including information about the principles, materials, self-discovery-based toys and materials, and the use of mirrors. Find out how to apply the Reggio Emilia philosophy and inquiry-based learning to your homeschool.

Using Project-Based Learning to Incorporate Art into Homeschool Projects | The Compass School
Discover ways to include art and color theory in your Reggio Emilia homeschool through activities like fingerpainting, playing with shadows, constructing creations from recyclables, creating DIY liquid watercolors, designing pipe cleaner and bead creations, and producing wet and dry chalk artwork.

 

Support for Families Using the Reggio Emilia Method at Home

If you are looking for more support, try finding families in your local homeschool support groups or access other families online through groups like these:

Homeschooling Preschoolers-Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia Methods
“Homeschooling Preschoolers with Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia methods aims to provide community and support to those who educate our children at home. The goal of this group is to serve as a supportive resource for parents and create enriching opportunities for children. We look forward to learning, laughing, and growing together! Please join us!

Homeschooling with Reggio Emilia Independent Studies
“Welcome to this group which is for sharing documentation, thoughts, and experiences about the Italian Reggio Emilia-inspired method of student-led project-based learning. The method is rooted in participatory democracy, which is its driving force. Let’s teach the children democracy, so they may grow up to embody freedom and have agency to create a free world. The Reggio Emilia Method can be used for all ages. We offer mentors for teens who have passion areas and want to deepen their vocational learning by working one on one with mentors virtually. The group is open to all as a resource for democratic learning.”

Reggio Emilia Inspired Practice
Although not specifically for homeschool… “This group is intended to share best practice and to learn about the Reggio Emilia Approach. This is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education that values the child as a strong, capable and resilient human being, rich with wonder and knowledge.

Reggio Emilia Inspired Resources
This is a place for those inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to gather, share ideas, provocations, teaching strategies, and discuss ways to connect the approach to home and school life.

 

Resources for Your Reggio Emilia Homeschool

Finally, here are some additional resources that can help you learn more about Reggio Emilia or just find materials with which to set up your inspiring Reggio Emilia learning environment:

Bringing Reggio Emilia Home: An Innovative Approach to Early Childhood Education $
By Louise Boyd Caldwell (Author)
Bringing Reggio Emilia Home is the first book to integrate the experiences of one American teacher on a year-long internship in the preschools of Reggio, with a four-year adaptation effort in one American school. The lively text includes many “mini-stories” of preschool and kindergarten-age children, teachers, and parents who embark on journeys of learning together. These journeys take shape in language, in drawings, in tempera paint and clay, in outdoor excursions, and in the imaginations of both the children and adults. […] This book is a must read for anyone interested in the Reggio Approach! Teachers, especially those in early childhood, teacher educators, policy makers, administrators, and parents will find it invaluable.”

The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation $
By Carolyn Edwards (Editor), Lella Gandini (Editor), George Forman (Editor)
Why does the city of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy feature one of the best public systems of early education in the world? This book documents the comprehensive and innovative approach that utilizes the “hundred languages of children” to support their well-being and foster their intellectual development. […] The authors provide the reader with a comprehensive introduction to the Reggio Emilia experience, and address three of the most important central themes of the work in Reggio in detail: teaching and learning through relationships; the hundred languages of children, and how this concept has evolved; and integrating documentation into the process of observing, reflecting, and communicating.

Infants & Toddlers at Work: Using Reggio-Inspired Materials to Support Brain Development $
By Ann Lewin-Benham (Author)
“This book contains a wealth of practical and specific activities and materials to use with infants and toddlers to enhance growth and development. Writing in the accessible style that her readers appreciate, Ann Lewin-Benham looks at current research from the neurosciences to show what teachers and childcare providers can do with very young children. For each material or activity presented, the text examines its relation to the rapid brain growth that characterizes the zero to three years, including sensory reception, movement, language, cognition, memory, vision, and motivation. Materials, with guidance for their use and where to find them, include paint, mark-makers, man-made found objects, natural objects, clay, paper, and light and shadow.

Inquiry-Based Early Learning Environments: Creating, Supporting, and Collaborating $
By Susan Stacey (Author)
What does inquiry look like in early childhood settings? How does the environment affect children’s inquiries and teachers’ thought processes? Inquiry-Based Early Learning Environments examines inquiry in all its facets, including environments that support relationships, that create a culture of risk-taking in our thinking, that support teachers as well as children, that include families, that use documentation as a way of thinking about our work, and of course, the physical environment and all the objects and spaces within it. Throughout, stories about environments and approaches to inquiry from around the world are included as examples.”

In the Spirit of the Studio: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia $
By Lella Gandini, Lynn Hill, Louise Boyd Cadwell, Charles S. Schwall (Editors)
“The atelier, or studio, is a key element of the renowned preschools and infant-toddler centers of Reggio Emilia, Italy. This beautiful, full-color resource explores how the experiences of children interacting with rich materials in the atelier affect an entire school’s approach to the construction and expression of thought and learning. The authors provide examples of projects and address practical aspects of the atelier, including organizing the environment and using materials. No other book presents a more thorough examination of the philosophy, practice, and essential influence of the Reggio-inspired studio.”

The Language of Art: Inquiry-Based Studio Practices in Early Childhood Settings $
By Ann Pelo (Author)
“Inspired by an approach to teaching and learning born in Reggio Emilia, Italy, The Language of Art, Second Edition, includes: a new art exploration for teachers to gain experience before implementing the practice with children, advice on setting up a studio space for art and inquiry, suggestions on documenting children’s developing fluency with art media and its use in inquiry, and inspiring photographs and ideas to show you how inquiry-based practices can work in any early childhood setting.”

Loose Parts 2: Inspiring Play with Infants and Toddlers $
By Lisa Daly (Author), Miriam Beloglovsky (Author)
“Loose parts capture children’s curiosity, give free reign to their imagination, and encourage creativity. This form of play allows infants to be in control and recognize the power of their bodies and actions. A variety of new and innovative loose parts ideas are paired with beautiful photography to inspire safe loose parts play in your infant and toddler environments. Captivating classroom stories and proven science provide the context for how this style of play supports children’s development and learning. This book is perfect for Montessori and Reggio-inspired programs and educators.”

“Mommy, They’re Taking Away My Imagination!”: Educating Your Young Child at Home $
By Pam Oken-Wright (Author)
“This book is for parents and grandparents of young children educating at home, whether instead of school or in addition to school. […] It is for anyone who has a role in growing a curious, resourceful, thoughtful human being. It includes a wealth of practical ideas as well as insight into children’s thinking, process, and learning. Based on the author’s decades of working with young children as a teacher-researcher, “Mommy, They’re Taking Away my Imagination”: Educating your Young Child at Home brings the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education home to parents and children 0 to 6 years old.”

Reggio Emilia/Project Based Homeschooling | Pinterest Collection by Reverie
Find over 200 pins related to Reggio Emilia homeschooling and get ideas for activities, templates, decorations for the environment, and more!

Reggio Resources | Project-Based Homeschooling
Check out this listing of Reggio-inspired resources, from books to online resources to information about authentic art.

Reggio Resources | Teachers Pay Teachers $
Browse the many Reggio-inspired lesson plans, week plans, and even year plans and find other resources like worksheets, templates, prompts, and activities.

Working in the Reggio Way: A Beginner’s Guide for American Teachers $
By Julianne P. Wurm (Author)
Working in the Reggio Way helps teachers of young children bring the innovative practices of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, to American classrooms. Written by an educator who observed and worked in the world-famous schools, this groundbreaking resource presents the key tools that will allow American teachers to transform their classrooms, including these: organization of time and space, documentation of children’s work, observation and questioning, and attention to children’s environments. This workbook also contains interactive activities for individual or group reflection.”

 

Do you use the Reggio Emilia method of homeschooling? Please share your experiences and resources in the comments below….

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2 Responses to Reggio Emilia Homeschool Method

  1. shigally on May 30, 2022 at 10:13 pm

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    • Andrea Dillon on May 31, 2022 at 4:23 am

      Thanks so much! I am so happy you found this post useful! I hope you find more on the site to help you with your homeschooling needs.

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