The Reggio Emilia method was founded by humanitarian, teacher, and educational psychologist Loris Malaguzzi shortly after WWII in Italy. One of the main aspects of the learning philosophy is the role of expression. The philosophy believes in the concept of “One Hundred Languages” in that there are “hundreds” of ways for children to express themselves that are not necessarily verbal. Those ways of expressions are described as being expressive, communicative, symbolic, cognitive, ethical, metaphorical, logical, imaginative and relational. In following that philosophy materials are presented and the artist known as the atelier, offers a variety of different expressionist tools that the child has free reign over to express themselves. Initially children explore, experiment and play with the materials but they are also subconsciously developing skills and will eventually be able to use those skills to assist in concept development and extending their understanding of a topic. Allowing a child to express themselves and be creative is incredibly important in the Reggio philosophy.
The combination of the Reggio and Montessori programs reinforces and strengthens the image of the child as a competent, creative and curious person.