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What is a Reggio Emilia preschool?

The main features of Reggio Emilia-inspired preschools and daycare programs

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Along with Montessori and Waldorf, Reggio Emilia is one of the main types of preschools offered in Canada. Reggio preschools offer a combination of academic and play-based learning. The focus is on social interaction, project-based learning, and multi-modal learning.

Below, we outline the main features of these preschools and daycares. Keep in mind, though, that preschool programs can vary in terms of aims, policies, teaching approaches, and more. 

Main features of Reggio Emilia preschools

  • Self-guided curriculum: With help from the teacher, children are given the freedom to explore their interests and pursue projects based on them. Similar to Montessori and Waldorf, sometimes do this on their own and sometimes in small groups.
  • Social interaction: The classroom is set up for lots of interaction. Kids interact with teachers and peers throughout the day. They also work with their peers in small groups of two to five. It’s believed that kids learn well through interaction, play, and collective problem solving.
  • Multi-modal learning: In Reggio preschools, kids are encouraged to express themselves in lots of different ways. They also using a wide range of artistic media, such as painting, sculpting, and drama. And they’re urged to share their thoughts and ideas in many ways  based on the idea of “the hundred languages.”)
  • Project-based learning: The Reggio Emilia preschool curriculum makes projects a big focus. Kids work on both short- and long-term projects. These are typically initiated by kids, although teachers provide ample guidance. Projects often start with an open-ended idea or problem posed by a child.
  • Teacher support: Reggio teachers support kids in a number of ways. For one, they observe kids to see what interests them. They also connect them with meaningful activities. And, they post children’s work across the classroom. This helps both teachers and kids view student progress throughout the year.
  • Parent involvement: In a Reggio preschool or kindergarten, kids are encouraged to be active in school. This can include day-to-day interaction, advising, and work in the schools. It can also involve taking part in field trips and celebrations. What’s more, many parents use Reggio principles in their home.


Preschool questions (read our in-depth answers)

Answers to the question “What is a Reggio Emilia preschool?” from school officials

“Reggio Emilia values the child as strong, capable and resilient, rich with wonder and knowledge. It is a project-based program, and the lessons are based on the interests of children.” Marcel Pereira, director of Century Private School, a Montessori school in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

“We believe that the best approach for children is the Reggio Emilia-inspired program. Students learn through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment. The environment should also be organic, tranquil, and aesthetically pleasing.” Vanessa Sjerven, teacher at Elmwood School (the early years program), in Ottawa, Ontario



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List of What is a Reggio Emilia preschool?

      School Name Type Cost

    Richland Academy (est. 2002)  

    • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    • NS to 8 Coed
    • Day school (150 students)
    Richland Academy is a Reggio-inspired, International Baccalaureate candidate school that offers programs from 24 months to Grade 8 in Richmond Hill. [View profile]
    • Progressive
    • International Baccalaureate
    $9,700 to $17,800

    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Coed Day9700

    Robbins Hebrew Academy (est. 1957)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • NS to 8 Coed
    • Day school (370 students)
    Robbins Hebrew Academy (RHA) teaches students to think critically and globally, in a community that builds self-esteem and life-long character. RHA is Toronto’s first Jewish school to be CAIS accredited. [View profile]
    • Progressive
    • Reggio Emilia
    $5,700 to $16,980

    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Coed Day9999999999

    ArtsCalibre Academy (est. 2011)  

    • Victoria, British Columbia
    • PS to 8 Coed
    • Day school (160 students)
    ArtsCalibre Academy empowers students through creativity, mindfulness and leadership. We offer Preschool to Grade Eight in 2017/2018, adding one grade per year through to Grade 12. [View profile]
    • Progressive
    • Reggio Emilia
    $4,750 to $5,850

    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Coed Day4750

    Kingsway College School (est. 1989)  

    • Etobicoke, Ontario
    • PS to 8 Coed
    • Day school (400 students)
    Kingsway College School offers programs for PK to grade 8 in Etobicoke. Its average class size is 17 to 21 students. [View profile]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Progressive
    $8,000 to $25,500

    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Coed Day8000

    Calgary French & International School (est. 1969)  

    • Calgary, Alberta
    • PS to 12 Coed
    • Day school (780 students)
    Calgary French & International School, a traditional, alternative private school, offers preschool to grade 12 with enrolment of 750 day students. [View profile]
    • Progressive
    $10,810 to $12,720

    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day10810