If you are looking at different schooling options for your child, or you are simply looking at ways in which you can help them to develop at home, then you might have noticed that there are a variety of different approaches available when it comes to teaching our children.
Child development is extremely important, and this is the stage in which children are learning the values and lessons that they will carry with them when they are older.
Helping to build the foundations of these skills is a great way to help with their development.
However, it can be difficult to work out which approach is the best one for your child. If you are stuck between the Reggio Emilia and Montessori approaches, then you might find yourself in search of more information.
Both of these methods can be very similar at times, but they do also have alternate approaches when it comes to certain aspects of child development.
In order to make a decision on which one is the best method for your child, it can be helpful to know everything that there is to know about both ways.
In this article, we are going to look at both of these methods in-depth so that you can decide which one you would prefer to use.
We will look at both the similarities and differences between the two, and ultimately, the decision will be yours to make.
What is Montessori Learning?
Montessori is one of many methods of education that revolves around self directed activities, hands-on learning, and collaborative play.
In environments where Montessori learning is encouraged, children are able to make their own creative decisions while they are learning at the same time.
When they are provided with certain activities that are suitable for their age and development level, they often thrive.
Montessori learning encourages children to work both independently and as a team, and it allows them to discover key skills and knowledge through different activities.
Through this type of learning children are encouraged to reach their maximum potential, and the environment that they are learning in is key to this success.
Montessori classrooms and home environments are typically filled with specifically crafted furniture and activities that aim to help children to meet such expectations.
Through experimental learning, children can learn a deeper understanding of a variety of different subjects, like math, science, music, language, and so much more.
It also teaches them personal skills that they will carry with them through life. It isn’t just about getting an education; it is also about personal development too.
Montessori classrooms are purposefully designed in a way that continually encourages self-learning and other educational activities.
Lots of these types of facilities will also incorporate outdoor learning in addition to indoor learning to further your child’s development and encourage a positive relationship with the environment.
There are no wasted materials, and everything in these classrooms will help to support your child’s development in one way or another.
This way, children are able to learn through their own experiences and at their own pace.
What Are the Values of Montessori Learning?
As with most other different learning approaches, the Montessori method has its own values that are promoted through their way of teaching.
They are not solely limited to this list of values, but these are some of the key things that are present in this method of learning.
It is no secret that Maria Montessori, the creator of the Montessori learning method, had a profound respect for children and the developmental powers that led them to seeking specific experiences.
The adult and child relationship that is developed in Montessori learning is very interesting, and the child becomes the centre of their own learning, rather than the adult teaching the child.
Teachers and parents that follow the Montessori method are encouraged to show a level of respect for the children to truly be themselves.
They are there for guidance and support, and they teach children to respect other people and their surroundings.
Learning by Doing
Montessori classrooms are known to be full of interesting activities for children, and it is highly encouraged for children to engage with self-directed activities.
This way, they can learn new things for themselves and learn how to be independent along the way. This also helps to lead to discovery, and it can also help to benefit their problem solving skills.
Montessori play supports the development and expression of the imagination in children while they are learning.
This allows children to explore new ideas and relationships, and to learn how to express themselves creatively.
The Ability to Choose
One of the main ideas of Montessori learning is freedom of choice, and allowing children to make their own decisions.
The ability to choose and make decisions has been known to further child development, and children are able to learn the consequences that come from their choices.
Children often feel the need to strive for independence in a variety of different situations, and Montessori learning encourages them to do just that.
Children like to do things for themselves and feel like they are in control, and gaining this skill when they are young will only benefit them later in life.
What is Reggio Emilia Learning?
The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy that focuses on the potential that children have for development, and provides them with the ability to learn through all of the different languages that are available to them.
This way of learning is becoming increasingly popular, especially in early child development.
Similarly to Montessori learning, the classroom and environments in which the children are learning are key to the method behind the approach.
It is encouraged that children use their senses through independent learning to gain an understanding of their environment, which is why things like texture and color are so important in these classrooms.
This also helps to keep the children engaged and interested while learning through play.
The teachers have more of an involvement in Reggio Emilia learning, and the direction of education is guided by both the adults and the children.
Teachers are able to respond to the needs of the children to further encourage developmental learning, and they usually have multiple roles in the classroom.
When the term ‘languages’ is mentioned in regards to the Reggio Emilia approach, it is surrounding the metaphor that describes the many ways in which children can express themselves.
These languages are not necessarily spoken, and they can mean the different ways in which they learn, like through dancing, painting, writing, and much more.
Children also often express themselves through body language and self-directed tasks.
The Values of Reggio Emilia Learning
As we have previously mentioned, different approaches to learning will often have their own set of values behind the method of learning.
The Reggio Emilia method is no exception to this, and we will explain some of their key values below.
Participation is key within this particular educational strategy, and it is highly encouraged that children actively participate in learning, whether it is independently or in a group.
Participation also allows children to communicate using the ‘100 languages of children’, which allows them to express themselves, their understanding, and their opinion.
Being able to participate also helps children to develop other key skills.
Research is one of the fundamental skills that we learn, and it is a key foundation of the Reggio Emilia way of learning.
Children research in different ways than adults do, and without relying on the internet, they look to the behavior of other people for answers.
They are able to learn from those around them, and asking questions is also encouraged in order to gain a better understanding of a specific topic.
It also helps them to learn and interpret the complexity of their environment.
Another important value with this learning approach is organization, and the organization of work, spaces, and times, are some of the most important structures of this educational project.
Through organization, children are able to understand the importance of responsibility, and of a stable working environment.
Environment and Surroundings
No matter if the space in question is indoors or outdoors, the environment in which Reggio Emilia learning is taught will be designed in a way that allows children to learn through their senses, and it also encourages the adult and child relationship through learning.
Children can interact with their environments to gain a better understanding of their surroundings, and even to gain a respect for nature in an outdoor space.
They also learn to care for their surroundings by looking after furniture and objects and not being destructive.
The Reggio Emilia way of learning encourages the professional growth and formation of individuals whether they are working alone or as a team.
Every person’s method of participation is valid, no matter the way in which they choose to express themselves in a chosen activity.
Professional growth is a key skill that children will go on to use in their adult lives, which is why it is so important.
It also presents an opportunity for them to begin to understand educational opportunities.