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Montessori vs. Reggio Emilia

Choosing a childcare provider is one of the most important decisions your family will make during your child’s early learning years. This decision can be overwhelming, as there are so many different childcare options to choose from. However, it is crucial to be particular when selecting a childcare provider for your little one. Not only will your child be spending many days and hours at childcare, but they will also be learning and developing new skills at one of the most pivotal times in their life. A child’s brain is 90 percent developed before the age of 5, so it is immensely important that the childcare center you select is the perfect fit for your child and allows them to thrive to the best of their ability.

What is the Reggio Emilia approach?

At Kinderberry Hill, we use the Reggio Emilia approach to childcare. As Reggio-inspired schools, we view children as competent, capable, and rich with ideas. We believe children have the right to observe, investigate, and explore the world around them through play. Every child has unique strengths, and our teachers create environments and experiences to capitalize on these. Our emergent curriculum invites teachers to learn alongside children, encouraging discovery, curiosity, and confidence.

What is the difference between Montessori and Reggio Emilia?

Although commonly mistaken for the same approach, Reggio Emilia schools are not Montessori schools. While both Reggio and Montessori schools are child-centric and non-traditional approaches to education, they are rooted in different principles, beliefs, and practices. Here are five common differences between Montessori and Reggio Emilia schools.

  1. Role of the Teacher. One of the main differences between Reggio Emilia and Montessori centers is the role of the teacher in the classroom. In a Montessori school, the teacher is seen as a more unobtrusive leader within the classroom. They will prepare curriculum and direct students based on what they have previously observed. In Reggio Emilia schools, teachers act as partners and collaborators in the learning process. Teachers are co-learners with the students. They facilitate the child’s learning through experiences and lessons based on the child’s interests, asking questions to further understanding, and actively engaging in the activities alongside the child, instead of sitting back and observing the child learning.
  2. Focus. Another difference is that Montessori schools focus on helping children establish independence and freedom. Reggio schools focus more on interdependence and community. Establishing good relationships through collaboration, negotiation, and play are key to this approach.
  3. Curriculum. In a Montessori school, curriculum is pre-designed by the teachers. This curriculum is based on each child’s interests and abilities promoting independent self-motivated growth. In a Reggio school, curriculum is ever changing. The teacher can adjust the curriculum as children respond and express interest in new concepts. This approach capitalizes on the interests of the children to keep curriculum captivating and challenging.
  4. Child Development. New concepts will be introduced to students in a Montessori school depending on what stage the child is at in development. In a Reggio Emilia school, it is believed that each child will develop at their own pace. Children are already complete as they are. They have ideas, opinions, and unique talents to offer their community at any age.
  5. Foundation. Montessori schools were originally created for parents. They were created to meet the needs of the child. Reggio Emilia schools were created by parents. They were created to meet the needs of the whole family and build a strong community.

Learn more about our Reggio Emilia inspired programs at Kinderberry Hill:


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