It promotes an image of the child as a strong, capable protagonist in his or her own learning, and importantly as a subject of rights. It is distinguished by a deeply embedded commitment to the role of research in learning and teaching. It is an approach where the expressive arts play a central role in learning and where a unique reciprocal learning relationship exists between teacher and child. Much attention is given to detailed observation and documentation of learning and the learning process takes priority over the final product.
Educators in Reggio Emilia are fully aware of the importance of developing all areas of learning and understanding, not only the logical and linguistic. While literacy and numeracy activities undoubtedly have their place in the daily activities of the nursery, teachers believe strongly in the central role that the expressive arts have to play. They acknowledge the fact that very young children are extremely expressive, with an enormous capacity for sharing feelings and emotion, and that imagination plays a key role in the child’s search for knowledge and understanding. They are convinced of the overriding importance of the learning process rather than the final product. Involvement in the expressive arts allows the children to revisit subjects of interest over and over again through many different media to gain multiple perspectives and a higher level of understanding.