Alphablocks Nursery School & Pre-Prep | Hadley Wood, London

The Remarkable Benefits of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Years Education

The ‘Reggio Emilia’ approach to education originated in Northern Italy right after the end of World War II. It was created by Lorris Malaguzzi, a teacher, and parents who lived in the area around Reggio Emilia. The number of Reggio settings grew rapidly and the reputation of the alternative approach grew stronger over the years. During the last quarter century it has attracted international attention. In this post, we look at the many benefits of this approach to early years education.

A key principle of the Reggio approach is the recognition that children have rights when it comes to their learning. The child is put at the centre of the practice by being treated as a ‘knowledge bearer’. By valuing children in this way educators must put more emphasis on really listening to the children. Our school fully adopts and promotes this principle: every member of staff at Alphablocks Nursery School & Pre-Prep, Hadley Wood, is expected to listen and give ample time and space to children to express themselves.

Reggio Emilia is an innovative approach to early years education – Alphablocks Nursery School & Pre-Prep

Children in Reggio settings are active constructors of knowledge, who are encouraged to be ‘researchers’. Most of the educational experiences at Reggio take the form of projects, where children have opportunities to actively participate, explore, and question things. There is also a very strong emphasis on the social development of children as part of a community and their relationships to other children, their families and teachers.

Our image of children no longer considers them as isolated and egocentric, does not only see them as engaged in action with objects, does not emphasise only the cognitive aspects, does not belittle feelings or what is not logical… Instead our image of the child is rich in potential, strong, powerful, competent and, most of all, connected to adults and children.

Loris Malaguzzi

So how do we adapt the key principles of this innovative approach at our nursery school? Below we provide a summary of the main practices we employ in this respect.

The use of natural materials in expressive art is beneficial – Alphablocks Nursery School & Pre-Prep, Hadley Wood

Example of a typical Reggio setup – Alphablocks Nursery School & Pre-Prep, Hadley Wood

At Alphablocks Nursery School & Pre-Prep, Hadley Wood, we make careful use of these principles to support our school’s ethos. We promote the idea that classrooms should be aesthetically capturing yet minimalist. The classroom layout and resources reflect the profile of the community which surrounds the setting. We place a very strong emphasis on natural resources and the study of the natural surroundings. We are particularly fortunate to be situated in a fantastic natural setting, surrounded by large majestic trees, at the heart of Hadley Wood in North London (we also serve Potters Bar, Cockfosters, High Barnet, Oakwood areas.)  The classroom has direct access to an outstanding environment outdoors, including a sensory garden. We put a lot of emphasis on the process of choosing furniture, designing the layout and selecting the materials we use, with the aim of maximizing the children’s engagement with our learning resources.