Reggio, Montessori, Walker theories what do they all have in common?

The theme is cars this afternoon when he came home from school they were scattered around the play room where he left them before heading off to school. Cars go crash into the wall, flying off the bean bags onto a make shift ramp. My son has set up a race track with the aim to try, knock down the building blocks at the end of the race.

This activity goes on for hours, during this time he has experimented with a lot education concepts for early years. He has coloured sorted and counted the cars, (mathematics) in a way looked at a basic theory of gravity for the ramp he made for the cars (science). If he has a balance out as well he even looks at foundations of maths measurement, numbers and attributes. However he is totally unaware how important these activities are or what he has learnt just that he has learnt it all through play!  

There are many theories on early years education especially in the foundation years as discussed recently there is Reggio Emilia, Montessori or even Walker Learning Approach.

1. Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:

  • Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
  • Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing;
  • Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore;
  • Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

2. Montessori

Montessori education is fundamentally a model of human development, and an educational approach based on that model. The model has two basic principles.

First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments.

Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development. Montessori believed that children at liberty to choose and act freely within an environment prepared according to her model would act spontaneously for optimal development.

All the different theories are developed to increase children’s productivity and being engaged whilst learning.

3. Walker Learning approach.

This has more recently been developed by an Australian educator Kathy Walker.

With all these theories there seems to be a common approach that is allow the children to learn through student centred learning through play.

See the diagram below on student centred learning the education theories have evolved through engagement, environment and interactions.

Student centred learning.001


The set up of the environment to support learning is a safe, supportive.


This is the way we engage with the learners on many levels from application of information to in depth knowledge of the foundations of core

Fostering the students, interactions with peers, teachers, mentors, resources and the relevant relations to build upon subjects.

All these areas allow children to develop key skills in life like communication, language, decision making, social, emotional, foundations of mathematics, science, language and many more. If you are looking for ideas for activities, resources below are a few great websites for learning through play:

Clever Patch Online craft supplier that has natural, themed products great for arts and crafts

edx education (global based) contact the office to find local distributors look for their early education toys or mathematics resources.

Pinterest themed activities for early years learing

A-Z teaching ideas for themed learning

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