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Waldorf vs. Reggio Emilia schools

Comparing Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools in Canada

Find a list of schools

What’s the difference between Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools? And which school is a better fit for your child: Waldorf or Reggio?

Below, we compare Waldorf to Reggio Emilia education in Canada. This should help you to understand the difference between these two types of schools. It should also help give you a good sense of whether either option is right for your child, and if so, which one.

Waldorf schools

The Waldorf philosophy is, in many ways, opposed to that of mainstream schools. Waldorf schools have several progressive classroom practices that you won’t find in many of today’s schools.

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Flexible curriculum

Waldorf schools and preschools don’t have a standardized curriculum. Instead, they give their students quite a bit of freedom to work in a broad range of areas and pursue their own interests. And teachers carefully tailor curricula to meet each student’s unique learning needs.

Whole child education

While Waldorf schools do cover core academics, at least at the elementary level, this isn’t their whole focus. They aim to educate your child more holistically—intellectually, emotionally, and practically. Teachers develop children’s aptitudes for thinking, feeling, and acting.

Delayed academics

Waldorf schools delay formal academics. Formal instruction in math, science, and reading isn’t given until grade 1. Unlike in many other other schools, it isn’t offered in preschool or kindergarten. Kids don’t start formal academics until they’re developmentally ready, and ideally, interested.

Focus on the arts

Creativity and the arts are a big focus. These are infused throughout curriculum. Many lessons begin with a story, song, or dance. Moreover, schools devote a lot of independent time to arts and crafts, dance, music, and other arts subjects.

Imagination and creativity

Pretend play is encouraged in preschool and kindergarten. There are lots of toys, art materials, and games in the classroom. Kids spend lots of time playing indoors and outdoors. The aim is to promote imaginative learning, creativity, and social and emotional skills.

Practical learning

Students do plenty of hands-on learning, at least up until grade 3. They learn and practice important practical skills, including cooking, cleaning, and gardening. They also learn crafts such as woodworking and sewing.

Limited technology

The use technology such as TVs, computers, and tablets is minimized. Too much screen time, it’s thought, can interfere with interaction and social development. Students first need to master “fundamental, time-honoured ways of discovering information and learning, such as practical experiments and books” (The Herald Scotland, December 2, 2007).

Click here to view a list of Waldorf schools

Reggio Emilia schools

The Reggio Emilia approach to education, like the Waldorf approach, is unique. It also involves several progressive classroom practices.

Self-guided learning

Reggio Emilia schools and preschools encourage self-directed learning and use what’s called a “co-constructed curriculum.” Teachers carefully observe and monitor students in class to gauge their interests. They use this knowledge to prepare the learning environment and find meaningful work and activities for each student.

Emergent curriculum

Teachers don’t use a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Nor do they try to impart knowledge to the class through lots of lectures or direct instruction. Instead, they observe children, ask them questions, and listen to their ideas. They thereby learn what kids are drawn to and plan their curriculum accordingly.

Importance of projects

Reggio schools make projects a big focus. These are mainly proposed by students, though teachers do make suggestions and act as a sounding board. Projects can be short- or long-term. They allow children to pursue deep and interesting ideas, and explore them in great detail.

Relationship-driven classroom

Each class is viewed as a system of relationships. Teachers consider each child’s relation to their family, other children, the teachers, the school environment, the community, and wider society.

The Reggio classroom is set up to promote lots of interaction. Children interact with teachers throughout the day, and they often work with their peers in small groups of two to five.

Many modes of learning

Teachers create environments where children can use many modes or languages to learn (sometimes called the “hundred languages.”) These modes include drawing, painting, modelling, sculpting, music, dance, poems, stories, metaphors, and more. Children are also given a wide range of materials to express themselves, such as paint, clay, wire, and natural and recycled materials.

Parent involvement

Parents are considered a vital part of education. In fact, parents are encouraged to be very involved in school. This can take many forms, including day-to-day interaction, advising and working with staff, helping out in the classroom, and attending field trips.

Click here to view a list of Reggio Emilia schools

Waldorf vs. Reggio Emilia

Main similarities between Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools

Main differences between Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools

To learn about the differences between Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia schools, read our guide. You can also read our guides comparing Montessori to Waldorf and Montessori to Reggio Emilia schools.

To learn about the differences between various preschool approaches, read our comparison guides. In separate articles, we compare Montessori to Waldorf, Montessori to Reggio Emilia, Waldorf to Reggio Emilia, academic to play-based, Montessori to play-based, and Montessori to academic preschools. If you want to compare specific schools or preschools one-to-one, visit our compare hub.

Find Private Schools:

In the spotlight:

List of Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools


Toronto, Ontario — At Hudson College, we encourage all students to do one thing above everything else: be yourself. We value and celebrate individuality, and we embolden students to be intellectually curious and fully express who they are. View School Profile.

  • 4.5-acre campus, brand new artificial turf field
  • Reggio Emilia in JK–1
  • Before- and after-school care
  • Hot lunch program
  • Mobile iPad/laptop labs
JK to 12 (Coed)
Traditional, Reggio Emilia
Avg. Class:
15 to 20
Hudson College 17240 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Davenport Rd/Spadina Rd
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $5,040 to $19,950

Small class sizes combine with a vast classical education to create a diversity of understanding that leads students to build the confidence they need to comfortably go out into the world in their own unique way.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Waldorf Academy 5040 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $19,000 to $29,280

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Grade 12 since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 19000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Victoria, British Columbia
    Richmond Rd/McRae Ave
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $20,090 to $82,770

Independent Kindergarten to Grade 12 boarding and day school in Victoria, BC, Canada focusing on university and life preparation. Find out how a SMUS education can benefit your family.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
St. Michaels University School 20090 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Spadina/St Clair Ave W
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,830 to $64,090

The Bishop Strachan School is a leading independent JK-Grade 12 day & boarding school for girls. Students build the academic skills to thrive at university and beyond. Over $1.6 million available in financial assistance.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
The Bishop Strachan School 33830 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bayview Ave/Broadway Ave
  • PS to 3 Coed
  • $14,000 to $20,000

We are a small, but dynamic private school that caters to families who are looking for a nurturing school environment for their child. Small classes and a well-rounded curriculum to help every child meet with success.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Reggio Emilia
Children's Garden Nursery School 14000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $19,000 to $19,500

Richland Academy is a progressive, innovative Reggio inspired and International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for children from 2.8-years to Grade 8. Voted #1 Private School in Richmond Hill 4 years in a row.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Richland Academy 19000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Burlington, Ontario
    Appleby Line/Upper Middle Road
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $9,520 to $16,000

Halton Waldorf school offers an education that fosters confidence, independence and intelligence. Our school is located on five forested acres and has been uniquely designed to support the goals of Waldorf education.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Halton Waldorf School 9520 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Sheridan, Oregon(USA)
    HWY 18/SW Rock Creek Rd
  • K to 12 Coed
  • US $23,826 to US $68,599

Our unique curriculum and approach to education teaches students to teach themselves. Our mission is to empower young adults to bring positive change in the world through reason, creativity and integrity.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
The Delphian School 23826 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • PS to 10 Coed
  • $1,600 to $6,250

ArtsCalibre Academy empowers students through creativity, mindfulness and leadership. We are offering Preschool through Grade 10 programs in 2020/2021, adding one grade per year through to Grade 12.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
ArtsCalibre Academy 1600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Donald St/Frances St
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,400 to $10,900

Providence Academy is the only Private French Catholic School offering a trilingual program of study in Ontario with classes from nursery to grade eight. Tuition: $8,800-10,300. Extracurricular activities: $600-$650.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
  • Reggio Emilia
Academie Providence 9400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • PS to 9 Coed
  • $4,280 to $14,420

Calgary Waldorf School’s rich and challenging curriculum carefully balances academic, artistic and practical activities to stimulate intelligence and encourage creativity.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Calgary Waldorf School 4280 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst St./Eglinton Ave. West
  • PS to 6 Coed
  • $10,000 to $16,500

NOW WITH LICENSED DAYCARE! Bring your child for a free trial to let him or her experience the difference. Don't be surprised if he or she doesn't want to go home at the end of the day!

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • Waldorf
Alive Montessori & Private School 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bloor St W/Jane St
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $14,300 to $20,400

Summit Micro School provides a modern curriculum from JK to Grade 8. Reggio Emilia kindergarten and Project and Inquiry Based elementary programs inspire and engage while developing essential 21st Century skills.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Summit Micro School 14300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • PS to 3 Coed
  • $10,600 to $23,000

Diverse, warm community. Small classes. Exceptional phonics program to build early literacy. Collaborative, multiple-strategy approach to math. Public speaking, the arts, outdoor ed, mindfulness, community engagement.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Reggio Emilia
CGS (Children's Garden School) 10600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $22,250 to $26,500

Collingwood creates infinite opportunities for our students to excel. Our four Strand approach is delivered through university preparatory programs that are collaborative, interdisciplinary, relevant and pioneering.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Collingwood School 22250 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Newmarket, Ontario
    Mulock Drive/Bayview Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $26,535 to $68,580

Pickering College's fully-integrated Global Leadership Program (JK to Grade 12) inspires students to become agents of courageous, ethical and positive change with the confidence, knowledge and skills to shape the future.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
Pickering College 26535 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • JK to 6 Coed
  • $12,600 to $18,900

Oak Learners offers a unique learning atmosphere, inspired by the strengths of our students. Our classrooms apply interdisciplinary and inquiry-based teaching to facilitate an enriched educational environment.

  • Day
  • Reggio Emilia
Oak Learners 12600 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • $7,000 to $12,000

Kingsley's small classes and personal approach help students reach their unique potential. Each child is seen, heard, and respected. French, music, and phys-ed round out a program which includes plenty of time outdoors.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • Reggio Emilia
Kingsley Primary School 7000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Royal York Road/Dundas Street West
  • JK to 10 Coed
  • $24,990 to $28,870

Kingsway College School offers programs for JK to grade 8 in Etobicoke. Its average class size is 16 to 21 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Kingsway College School 24990 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed
  • Thornhill, Ontario
    Bathurst St/Rutherford Rd
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $12,470 to $23,400

Toronto Waldorf School offers a curriculum that integrates academics,arts & movement, and addresses the intellectual, physical, emotional & social aspects of child development. Preschool to gr. 12.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Toronto Waldorf School 12470 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Lakeshore and/Kipling
  • NS to 3 Coed
  • $9,000 to $15,000

Vincent Massey supports students in reaching their individual potential through a balanced education; setting your child up for success in all avenues of life.

  • Day
  • Reggio Emilia
  • Reggio Emilia
Vincent Massey Academy 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed

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