Categories Learning

How Does Learning Best Occur in Young Minds?

This is a question that educators around the world have pondered, and people like Rudolph Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Schools, found that learning best occurs with hands-on activities. Of the many theories on how young children learn, the Reggio Emilia approach stands out as a form of pedagogy that is based on self-directed experiential learning.

The Reggio Emilia Approach

This gets its name from the Italian villages of the region with the same name, and was pioneered by pedagogist Loris Malaguzzi, who worked with parents to establish a new system of learning. These are the core principles of the Reggio Emilia approach:

  • Children must have some control over the direction of their learning.
  • Children must be able to learn through touching, moving, listening and observing.
  • Children have a relationship with other children and material objects in the world they must be allowed to explore.
  • Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

An Active Constructor of Knowledge

The core difference between the Reggio Emilia approach and standardised learning is that the child is viewed as an active constructor of knowledge, rather than being the target of instruction, and is very much regarded as an apprentice with regard to learning. Therefore, the curriculum is very much student-centered, as the children have a say in the learning process, and this is widely recognised in education circles as being the best environment for learning to occur.

Preschools That Adopt the Reggio Emilia Approach

You will be happy to learn that there is a preschool in Bangkok that actively follows and practices the Reggio Emilia approach, and they have many years of hands-on experience in creating the right environment for their students to explore and learn. Creativity and the arts are a big part of early years learning in such a school, and this allows the students to learn at their own pace, while having some control over the topics they explore.

Teachers Who Don’t Teach

That might sound a little strange, but, in fact, teachers who use the Reggio Emilia approach do not teach per se. Rather they create an environment for the children to explore and rather than instructing the children what to do and not to do, the teacher is seen more as a facilitator, guiding the students in the right direction.


One could easily instruct a child on the best way to do something, but then the child will not come to any conclusions, rather he or she will follow the teacher’s instructions, so the Reggio Emilia teacher will guide the students to the point where they have to deal with problems, and will help them to arrive at their own conclusions.

The first seven years of a child’s life are called the formative years, and if the child is allowed to develop in the way the Reggio Emilia approach uses, they will develop essential life skills, and more importantly, the child will learn how to think constructively. If you want to give your child a head start, enrol them in a preschool that practices the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach, which will give them a good foundation for future learning and they will be able to develop to their fullest potential.


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