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Waldorf vs. Reggio Emilia schools

Comparing Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools in Canada

Find a list of schools

What’s the difference between Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools? And which school is a better fit for your child: Waldorf or Reggio?

Below, we compare Waldorf to Reggio Emilia education in Canada. This should help you to understand the difference between these two types of schools. It should also help give you a good sense of whether either option is right for your child, and if so, which one.


Waldorf schools

The Waldorf philosophy is, in many ways, opposed to that of mainstream schools. Waldorf schools have several progressive classroom practices that you won’t find in many of today’s schools.

Flexible curriculum

Waldorf schools and preschools don’t have a standardized curriculum. Instead, they give their students quite a bit of freedom to work in a broad range of areas and pursue their own interests. And teachers carefully tailor curricula to meet each student’s unique learning needs.

Whole child education

While Waldorf schools do cover core academics, at least at the elementary level, this isn’t their whole focus. They aim to educate your child more holistically—intellectually, emotionally, and practically. Teachers develop children’s aptitudes for thinking, feeling, and acting.

Delayed academics

Waldorf schools delay formal academics. Formal instruction in math, science, and reading isn’t given until grade 1. Unlike in many other other schools, it isn’t offered in preschool or kindergarten. Kids don’t start formal academics until they’re developmentally ready, and ideally, interested.

Focus on the arts

Creativity and the arts are a big focus. These are infused throughout curriculum. Many lessons begin with a story, song, or dance. Moreover, schools devote a lot of independent time to arts and crafts, dance, music, and other arts subjects.

Imagination and creativity

Pretend play is encouraged in preschool and kindergarten. There are lots of toys, art materials, and games in the classroom. Kids spend lots of time playing indoors and outdoors. The aim is to promote imaginative learning, creativity, and social and emotional skills.

Practical learning

Students do plenty of hands-on learning, at least up until grade 3. They learn and practice important practical skills, including cooking, cleaning, and gardening. They also learn crafts such as woodworking and sewing.

Limited technology

The use technology such as TVs, computers, and tablets is minimized. Too much screen time, it’s thought, can interfere with interaction and social development. Students first need to master “fundamental, time-honoured ways of discovering information and learning, such as practical experiments and books” (The Herald Scotland, December 2, 2007).

Click here to view a list of Waldorf schools

Reggio Emilia schools

The Reggio Emilia approach to education, like the Waldorf approach, is unique. It also involves several progressive classroom practices.

Self-guided learning

Reggio Emilia schools and preschools encourage self-directed learning and use what’s called a “co-constructed curriculum.” Teachers carefully observe and monitor students in class to gauge their interests. They use this knowledge to prepare the learning environment and find meaningful work and activities for each student.

Emergent curriculum

Teachers don’t use a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Nor do they try to impart knowledge to the class through lots of lectures or direct instruction. Instead, they observe children, ask them questions, and listen to their ideas. They thereby learn what kids are drawn to and plan their curriculum accordingly.

Importance of projects

Reggio schools make projects a big focus. These are mainly proposed by students, though teachers do make suggestions and act as a sounding board. Projects can be short- or long-term. They allow children to pursue deep and interesting ideas, and explore them in great detail.

Relationship-driven classroom

Each class is viewed as a system of relationships. Teachers consider each child’s relation to their family, other children, the teachers, the school environment, the community, and wider society.

The Reggio classroom is set up to promote lots of interaction. Children interact with teachers throughout the day, and they often work with their peers in small groups of two to five.

Many modes of learning

Teachers create environments where children can use many modes or languages to learn (sometimes called the “hundred languages.”) These modes include drawing, painting, modelling, sculpting, music, dance, poems, stories, metaphors, and more. Children are also given a wide range of materials to express themselves, such as paint, clay, wire, and natural and recycled materials.

Parent involvement

Parents are considered a vital part of education. In fact, parents are encouraged to be very involved in school. This can take many forms, including day-to-day interaction, advising and working with staff, helping out in the classroom, and attending field trips.

Click here to view a list of Reggio Emilia schools

Waldorf vs. Reggio Emilia

Main similarities between Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools

Main differences between Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools

To learn about the differences between Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia schools, read our guide. You can also read our guides comparing Montessori to Waldorf and Montessori to Reggio Emilia schools.

To learn about the differences between various preschool approaches, read our comparison guides. In separate articles, we compare Montessori to Waldorf, Montessori to Reggio Emilia, Waldorf to Reggio Emilia, academic to play-based, Montessori to play-based, and Montessori to academic preschools. If you want to compare specific schools or preschools one-to-one, visit our compare hub.

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List of Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools

 
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Toronto, Ontario — At Hudson College, we encourage all students to do one thing above everything else: be yourself. We value and celebrate individuality, and embolden students to be intellectually curious and fully express who they are. View School Profile.


  • 4.5-acre, air-conditioned campus
  • Reggio Emilia approach in JK–G1
  • Before and after-school care up to G4
  • Hot lunch program, prepared in-house
  • Mobile iPad and laptop labs
Grades:
JK to 12 (Coed)
Type:
Traditional, Reggio Emilia
Tuition:
$17,240
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
400
Avg. Class:
15 to 20
Hudson College 17240 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $20,000 to $30,160

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Grade 12 since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 20000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Spadina/St Clair Ave W
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $34,760 to $65,850

The Bishop Strachan School is a leading independent JK-Grade 12 day & boarding school for girls. Students build the academic skills to thrive at university and beyond. Over $1.6 million available in financial assistance.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
The Bishop Strachan School 34760 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Davenport Rd/Spadina Rd
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $13,775 to $21,750

Small class sizes and our unique curriculum - infused with Arts, Movement, Outdoor Education - create deeper connections across subjects, at all child development stages. Parents describe us as “schooling with heart".

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Waldorf Academy 13775 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
    Richmond Rd/McRae Ave
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $21,095 to $75,360

Independent Kindergarten to Grade 12 boarding and day school in Victoria, BC, Canada focusing on university and life preparation. Find out how a SMUS education can benefit your family.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
St. Michaels University School 21095 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
  • 1 to 8 Coed
  • $2,500 to $12,850

First school of its kind in the world. We are unique in everything we do. It is time for thinking outside of the box and raising a new generation of leaders, innovaters, inventors and entrepreneurs.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Waldorf
Agora Prep 2500 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bayview Ave/Broadway Ave
  • PS to 3 Coed
  • $5,900 to $20,000

Our focus is to provide every child with the opportunity to recover from another year of COVID disruptions. Max of 8 to 10 students per class enables us to get children back on track with their learning.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Reggio Emilia
Children's Garden Nursery School 5900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $21,500

Richland Academy is a progressive, innovative Reggio inspired and International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for children from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8. Voted #1 Private School in Richmond Hill 4 years in a row.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Richland Academy 21500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Newmarket, Ontario
    Mulock Drive/Bayview Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $27,860 to $69,955

Pickering College's fully-integrated Global Leadership Program (JK to Grade 12) inspires students to become agents of courageous, ethical and positive change with the confidence, knowledge and skills to shape the future.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
Pickering College 27860 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst St./Eglinton Ave. West
  • PS to 6 Coed
  • $15,500 to $17,500

NOW WITH LICENSED DAYCARE! Bring your child for a free trial to let him or her experience the difference. Don't be surprised if he or she doesn't want to go home at the end of the day! SUMMER CAMP PROGRAMS AVAILABLE!

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • Waldorf
Alive Montessori & Private School 15500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $12,600 to $18,550

Oak Learners is a Reggio-Inspired alternative school with a focus on Outdoor Education and personalized learning. Our classrooms are mixed-grade and follow an inquiry-based learning model of skill development.

  • eSchool/Day
  • Reggio Emilia
Oak Learners 12600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools eSchool Day Coed
  • Sheridan, Oregon(USA)
    HWY 18/SW Rock Creek Rd
  • K to 12 Coed
  • US $23,826 to US $68,599

Our unique curriculum and approach to education teaches students to teach themselves. Our mission is to empower young adults to bring positive change in the world through reason, creativity and integrity.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
The Delphian School 23826 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Donald St/Frances St
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,400 to $10,900

Providence Academy is the only Private French Catholic School offering a trilingual program of study in Ontario with classes from nursery to grade eight. Tuition: $8,800-10,300. Extracurricular activities: $600-$650.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
  • Reggio Emilia
Academie Providence 9400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bloor St W/Jane St
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $14,300 to $20,400

Summit Micro School provides a modern curriculum from JK to Grade 8. Reggio Emilia kindergarten and Project and Inquiry Based elementary programs inspire and engage while developing essential 21st Century skills.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Summit Micro School 14300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
    Feltham/Tyndall
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $1,600 to $6,250

ArtsCalibre Academy empowers students through creativity, mindfulness and leadership. We offer comprehensive educational programs for Preschool through Grade 12.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
ArtsCalibre Academy 1600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • PS to 9 Coed
  • $4,280 to $14,420

Calgary Waldorf School’s rich and challenging curriculum carefully balances academic, artistic and practical activities to stimulate intelligence and encourage creativity.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Calgary Waldorf School 4280 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $22,800 to $27,150

Collingwood creates opportunities for our JK to Grade 12 students to excel. Our four strand approach is delivered through a comprehensive educational experience that in collaborative, interdisciplinary and relevant.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Reggio Emilia
Collingwood School 22800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    16th Ave/Range Rd 33
  • K to 8 Coed
  • $10,950 to $14,950

Our school prioritizes wellness, empathetic leadership and social innovation. Our students spend a significant portion of each day outdoors and in nature learning through projects and hands-on experiences.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Calgary Changemaker School 10950 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Lakeshore and/Kipling
  • NS to 3 Coed
  • $12,000

Vincent Massey supports students in reaching their individual potential through a balanced education; setting your child up for success in all avenues of life.

  • Day
  • Reggio Emilia
Vincent Massey Academy 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Surrey, British Columbia
    24th Ave/152nd street
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $3,500 to $20,000

Since 1981, White Rock Christian Academy has provided education to Christian families who support our core purpose – to inspire and cultivate citizens of Godly character who transform their world for Christ.

  • Homestay/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
White Rock Christian Academy 3500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    yonge/king
  • PS to 7 Coed
  • $30 to $35 /day

We have two main programs we offer throughout the school year, our half day enriched preschool program for children ages 3-6yrs, and our educational before and after school program for children ages 4-12yrs.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Reggio Emilia
Play Island Explorers 30 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bayview/Eglinton
  • PS to 4 Coed
  • $11,000 to $23,700

Diverse, warm community. Small classes. Exceptional phonics program to build early literacy. Collaborative, multi-strategy approach to math. Public speaking, the arts, outdoor ed, mindfulness, community engagement.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Reggio Emilia
CGS (Children's Garden School) 11000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Royal York Road/Dundas Street West
  • JK to 10 Coed
  • $26,740 to $30,280

Kingsway College School delivers enriched programming in academics, arts, athletics, and citizenship. Our strong focus on community and small class sizes support differentiated instruction and student-driven learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Kingsway College School 26740 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Bloor/Shaver
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • $6,600 to $12,000

Kingsley's small classes and personal approach help students reach their unique potential. Each child is seen, heard, and respected. French, music, and phys-ed round out a program which includes plenty of time outdoors.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Kingsley Primary School 6600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Burlington, Ontario
    Appleby Line/Upper Middle Road
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $10,000 to $16,700

Halton Waldorf School offers an education that fosters confidence, independence and intelligence. Located on five forested acres, the school has been uniquely designed to support the goals of Waldorf education. Est 1984

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Halton Waldorf School 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $6,000 to $12,000

At Polaris artistic expression, practical skills & movement are interwoven into academic subjects. Learning becomes an engaging journey of discovery of the world and of oneself through hands-on and experiential learning.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Polaris School and Centre 6000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Thornhill, Ontario
    Bathurst St/Rutherford Rd
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $12,470 to $23,400

Toronto Waldorf School offers a curriculum that integrates academics,arts & movement, and addresses the intellectual, physical, emotional & social aspects of child development. Preschool to gr. 12.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Toronto Waldorf School 12470 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond, British Columbia
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $20,040 to $22,400

We emphasize critical thinking, as well as innovation, inspiring joy, and curiosity.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • Reggio Emilia
Pythagoras Academy 20040 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Guelph, Ontario
    Victoria Rd N/Woodlawn Rd E
  • K to 8 Coed
  • $5,763 to $13,535

Trillium provides a comprehensive, vibrant and academically vigorous Waldorf education. Students are welcomed into a warm environment with teachers who care deeply for them, and support their holistic development.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Trillium Waldorf School 5763 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Langside St./Westminster Ave.
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $15,450 to $49,440

STEAM and experiential learning are at the heart of our program, making learning at BH both dynamic and meaningful. With a focus on post-secondary guidance and internship, BH girls graduate with purpose.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Balmoral Hall School 15450 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls

Series: Waldorf schools

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