While the beauty of the environments of the preschools of Reggio Emilia is renowned, and while the importance of environment is a critical component of the philosophy, the educational philosophy of Reggio Emilia preschool educators is about so much more than the aesthetic beauty of their environments. Many of us have been attracted to the aesthetics and seek to implement this idea in our programs, yet as I addressed in a previous post, to focus merely on surface belies the import and potential impact of the Reggio approach.
For me personally, it is the profound attention to and respect for the development of thought in young children that is the power of the Reggio philosophy.
Children learn by doing but also by reflecting on what they are doing. They go forward and pause, stop, go backwards. This all takes place in exchange with others…the process is never linear or made up of a predetermined sequence…[We need] not to understand what they have learned but how they have learned it, not the product but rather the process, the construction of knowledge with other children and how they learn to learn.
The Educators of Reggio Emilia, Canadian Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, April 2011