The Reggio Emilia Approach

There are many different educational philosophies and models being used worldwide. They all have distinct characteristics and key features, but all are geared towards empowering the child’s learning to unlock their fullest potential. While every school has a learning philosophy and mission, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School draws inspiration all the way from Reggio Emilia, Italy, where a unique approach to early education began.

What is the Reggio Emilia Approach?

The Reggio Emilia approach, one of the world’s most recognized and used educational philosophy for early childhood education, provides inspiration for more traditional schools around the globe. Known to create confident communicators who are not only independent thinkers but also lifelong learners, the Reggio Emilia approach has been around for nearly seven decades. What sets it apart is that the children are at the helm of their own learning at all times. Valuing children as strong, capable, and resilient individuals who are rich with wonder and knowledge, the approach rides on the coattails of the innate curiosity of children and aims to assist them with understanding their world and their place within it.

A Flexible & Unique Learning Journey

The Reggio Emilia approach values children as central to their own learning, not simply an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge. Its flexible and child-centric learning approach allows children to be immersed in their own interests and to explore their learning tasks in greater depth. Children are given project-based learning activities tailored to enrich them with a healthy understanding of concepts that are important in the academic context.

Encourages Strong Social Skills

The focus on building relationships is the second tenet of the Reggio Emilia approach. Through exploration and observation, children are constantly communicating and interacting to practice collaboration skills, develop empathy and an understanding of others, and learn how to regulate their own emotions in interpersonal situations.

Learning through Environment

One of the most powerful and critical components in the Reggio Emilia approach is the learning space. A Reggio Emilia-inspired classroom is one that is open and free-flowing to support practical educational insights. It enables safe exploration, play, and learning. Classrooms and outdoor settings are carefully integrated with one another to provide access to stimulating resources through the use of vibrant colors and natural furnishings.

Adopting the Reggio Emilia approach in our Early Childhood program, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School works to provide the best learning environment for children in Malaysia and around the region.

Find out more about these and our other unique learning approaches at