The curriculum, Reggio Emilia, was developed after World War II by a teacher, Loris Malaguzzi, and parents in the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy.
Following the war, people believed that children were in need of a new way of learning. The assumption of Malaguzzi and the parents was that people form their own personality during early years of development and that children are endowed with "a hundred languages" through which they can express their ideas.
The aim of the approach is teaching children how to use these symbolic languages (eg., painting, sculpting, drama) in everyday life.
The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.
Differences with Montessori
A key difference between a Reggio approach and a Montessori approach is the role of teachers, families and communities.
Reggio inspired preschools emphasise the importance of relationships as children learn.
Reggio educators will often involve families and the community in the children’s learning and value the contributions they make. Reggio educators take the time to form relationships with children and have rich conversations with them about things the children are interested in.
Montessori place less emphasis on these relationships, and teachers take on a more observational role.
Montessori educators believe children learn better when they discover things for themselves; Montessori environments are often set up in a way that encourages children to do things independently.