The Reggio Emilia Philosophy 

Reggio Emilia method

The Andy Taylor Center is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. Our philosophy is based on the constructivist theory of child development, which ascertains that a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world is constructed through their experiences in their environment, as well as through their interactions with others.

The Reggio Emilia Approach

The Reggio Emilia approach to education was developed after World War II by psychologist Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the villages surrounding Reggio Emilia, Italy. Following the war, the citizens in the region sought to rebuild their community through an investment in early childhood education. A network of municipal preschools and infant/toddler centers was established to meet this need. The Reggio Emilia educational system is widely recognized for innovation within the field of education as a whole.

Defining principles of the Reggio Emilia approach include:

  • An image of the child as a naturally curious, creative, and competent individual capable of building and acquiring knowledge of their world
  • An emergent curriculum that builds upon the interests of the children, inspiring deep thinking and exploration
  • Caring, responsive teachers who partner with children in their explorations while listening, observing, and documenting their learning
  • The role of the preschool environment as a “third teacher”, consisting of elements that promote inquiry, interaction, and imagination
  • Studio spaces that invite children to explore topics of interest in multiple contexts
  • Use of documentation and authentic assessment to assess children’s growth and progress within the program
  • A school culture that values families and fosters meaningful relationships between home and school

The Reggio Emilia approach has been successfully implemented in a wide variety of public and private settings throughout the world.

Project-Based Learning

In the classroom, project-based learning is utilized to develop curriculum and activities. Our investigations are based on the interests and curiosities of the children. This allows children to become engaged in their own learning through exploration and experimentation. There is no time limit on classroom projects, allowing children to explore their interests in depth. Developmental and preacademic skills are embedded within project work, allowing children to build skills within a natural, relevant context reflective of their real-world experiences.

Incorporation of Learning Standards

Our program utilizes Virginia’s Unified Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS)published by the Virginia Department of Education. These standards provide all early childhood providers (i.e., parents/families, caregivers, educators, and program leaders) with a resource for understanding what children should know and be able to do as they grow and change from birth until they enter kindergarten. These standards are aligned directly with the kindergarten Standards of Learning, ensuring that preschoolers enter kindergarten with all of the knowledge, concepts, and skills they will need to be successful in elementary school.

At the core of the ELDS is the belief that all children in Virginia deserve to build on their capabilities, and deserve to start school ready to learn. Related to that conviction is the belief that early childhood caregivers and educators need access to clear, actionable guidance that supports their understanding of how children develop and the associated skills that emerge as they actively engage with their environment. These ELDS intentionally start with development at birth. What infants and toddlers come to know and do is inextricably linked to the ways in which adults are able to tune into the child’s curiosity and interest in their environment. When adults give words to feelings, name what they are seeing, ask questions and so forth, they are ever-expanding what infants and toddlers come to know about themselves and their world. In order to highlight discrete skills and behaviors that adults should look for when interacting with and observing a young child, this document focuses on each of the five Areas of Development. Within each area, the ELDS describe specific concepts and skills that adults should look for and support as children grow and change. All areas are grounded in what is known about early development and learning, and beliefs about young children and early childhood education.


Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.