Reggio Approach

Fiddlehead School of Arts & Sciences uses a Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to learning. The fundamentals of the Reggio Approach outlined by Gandini (2008) guide and inform our approach.


The principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach guide teaching and learning at Fiddlehead School:

  • The image of the child
  • Children’s relationships and interactions within a system
  • The role of families
  • The role of space
  • Teachers and children as partners in learning


Learning Environment

• The physical space encompasses both the indoors and outdoors.

• Extensive periods of time—for in depth investigations, thoughtful observations and reflections.

• A community of learners—children, teachers, and parents co-construct knowledge.

• Interactive materials—tools that support development, expression, problem solving and communicate thinking.

• Technology enhances children’s real world experiences.


• Teachers observe and document children’s learning

• Curriculum grows out of children’s interests and questions.

• At the same time, teachers guide learning to ensure that children are developing necessary knowledge and skills.

• Interdisciplinary, project-based learning is central– in the classroom, outdoors and in the community.

• Not a pre-set curriculum – but a process of inviting and sustaining learning.


Teachers document children’s learning through notes, photographs and examples of children’s work. This makes learning visible to children, parents and teachers, and informs next steps in curriculum. Older children participate in documentation of learning.


At the same time that teachers are documenting children’s learning as a group, they are tuned into the growth of individual children.

Each child has a portfolio organized around an assessment framework that describes key knowledge, skills and habits of mind.

Each child’s development is documented and reported to families twice a year through summaries and portfolios.

We also use assessment data to identify children who need additional support, and to inform improvement of our program overall.

Multi-age groupings

While there are developmental “norms,” each child develops knowledge and skills on their own timetable. Children in multi-age classes shine in their own ways, learn from each other and progress on a continuum that is not tied to their chronological age.