Reggio Emilia principles guide design for early learners

20 March 2019

DR recently completed work on a new John Paul College (JPC) Kindergarten, including two new learning spaces and external play areas. The project presented the opportunity to apply the principles of the Italian Reggio Emilia Educational Project to an Australian context. DR’s engagement with the Reggio Emilia approach will also be the focus of our contribution to an early learning conference coming up in June.

The design principles resonate with DR’s approach of placing people at the centre of the design process and our client, John Paul College, has been exploring the Reggio Emilia philosophy for some years.

To deepen DR’s understanding of the design principles, we worked closely with JPC and with QUT’s Dr Megan Gibson, Senior Lecturer in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education. Dr Gibson participated in the design workshop for the kindy and following the project DR has contributed to QUT research in the area.

Director Cameron Davies currently features in an educational case video which profiles the JPC project and which was produced by the Reggio Emilia Information Exchange (REAIE), Australia’s not-for-profit Reggio Emilia body. The case video is being presented in the REAIE’s 2019 national workshop series, ‘The Environment as the Third Teacher’, developed by QUT’s Dr Gibson and Lyn Zollo. The ‘Environment as Third Teacher’ explores spaces, places and relations that enable rich pedagogy and practices. The Brisbane workshop was held earlier this month and sold out.

DR expects to apply the Reggio Emilia principles to future education work and to further opportunities to collaborate with research initiatives. Cameron Davies will speak about the JPC project and the design principles at the 2019 Queensland Early Education and Care Conference at the Gold Coast in June.

Image provided courtesy of John Paul College