Reggio Emilia

Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, and Montessori: Where Methods Meet


As I’ve been thinking about this “sweet spot” where Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia meet, I’ve been trying to pull out where exactly those intersectionalities occur. This is, undoubtedly, a partial list, but it’s what I am able to come up with in the noisy lobby of my kids’ arts school.


  1. The aesthetic. Let’s face it, this is the first thing people tend to notice about all three of these “lifestyles” (if there is such a thing). Natural materials, muted colors, an ethereal glow. Toys are often handmade with love and knowledge of the child and are imbued with meaning. Toys tend are beautiful, open-ended, and multi-purpose.

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I’m at an interesting point in my life right now. I am finding that there is this fascinating sweet spot where Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia all meet. I’m at the thinking stage, sorting it all out.


Provocations: What are they?

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For a long time, I have praised the merits of taking a few moments to create small-scale play set-ups for your child to discover in the morning or when they come home from school. But it wasn’t until I began my work in a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool program that I found a word for what these are– provocations.

What is a provocation? Well, at its most basic level, a provocation provokes further learning. A provocation sets up a child for inquiry or learning. The best provocations– indeed, in Reggio philosophies, all provocations– begin by exploring the questions, wonderings, and interests of the children. As you observe how your child interacts with the materials and provocation, you can document learning and further questions, creating a spiral of provocations that continues for as long as your child shows interest.

A (brief) introduction to Reggio Emilia

I shared a month or so ago that I am now working at a Reggio-inspired child development center full-time now. I also threatened… um… I mean proposed… that I would be writing a little more about the Reggio Emilia influence on early childhood education. While many readers of my blog might be familiar with Waldorf education, another method that has greatly inspired me, curriculum modeled after the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy might be less well known.

How I help my toddlers learn the alphabet

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Don’t click out. I know what you’re thinking—Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers do NOT teach their toddlers the alphabet. Uh uh. No way. No how. No chance.

Let me back track for a second.

One of the things I love most about being a homeschooler is that I can be as eclectic as I want to be. Waldorf is my first love. It speaks to my heart like no other method. But I like to borrow from other approaches as well. I love the methodical organization of Montessori. I love the cycles and rhythms of the Classical Curriculum. And thanks to a series of posts over at Fairy Dust Teaching, I’ve been falling back in love with the beauty and project-based approach favored by the Reggio Emilia method.