The Reggio Emilia Classroom Decor Student-Centered Guide

The Reggio Emilia Classroom Decor Student-Centered Guide

Ready to transform your students' environment with Reggio Emilia classroom decor?

I use Reggio inspired classroom decorations with my own students, and I've seen the impact this approach can have.


We shouldn't stop at neutral colors, fancy furniture, and natural materials.

At its core, the Reggio Emilia approach calls for students to be builders, creators, and makers.

Let's explore how focusing on student-created decor builds members of a community who contribute to the classroom environment.

In this post, I'll share my favorite resource that's designed to help you incorporate a student-created focus in your classroom!

reggio emilia classroom decor examples

The Reggio Emilia approach explained

At its core, this approach is built on the educational philosophy that students are competent, capable, and collaborative members of the community.

When children come to our classrooms, they bring with them a plethora of skills ready to be developed.

By adopting this approach, we change the environment from "my" classroom to "our" classroom.

This is easier said than done.

How do we reflect these beliefs when parents and other visitors enter a Reggio Emilia classroom?

It's more than just visual stimulus and pretty wall colors.

We show others the potential of children through their own creations!

What does a Reggio inspired classroom look like?

Traditional Reggio Emilia classrooms share a few similarities.

Natural light, natural materials, and an art area are just a few.

Although they look great and are inviting;

The aesthetics of the room shouldn't overshadow student work and student made decorations.

We strive to leave room for students to make their mark when it comes to classroom decor.

Simply put, a Reggio inspired classroom should look like your students made it!

That means it doesn't have to be perfect and might seem messy, but it's a more welcoming environment because you're valuing student work.

Here's a few more characteristics of a Reggio inspired classroom:

  • The classroom environment is viewed as the third teacher.

  • Natural light is favored with minimal use of bright colors.

  • Neutral colors are primarily used.

  • Materials needed to create are easy to access

  • Classroom decor makes the space captivating and inviting.

  • The classroom environment is safe, familiar, and nurturing with the help of decor like flowers, rugs, and pictures.

Creating Reggio Emilia decorations in classrooms

reggio emilia classroom decorations

Before worrying about nice rugs and framed pictures, build the foundation of your classroom decor with student creations!

In my first year teaching, I wanted my classroom to be perfectly aligned with all the Reggio Emilia inspired ideas across the internet.

But I found it to be overwhelming - especially while teaching in a more traditional school.

That's when I decided to focus my efforts on implementing the core ideas of student collaboration.

How could the walls of the classroom act as the third teacher?

The answer was co-construction of the classroom environment!

In my first year teaching, students created classroom decor exclusively through interactive writing.

While it was very educational, I never found it to be as engaging, timely, or manageable.

I spent that summer after my first year as a kindergarten teacher building a resource that empowered my students to create our classroom decor, labels, and posters.

The following school year, I was amazed by how much time, energy, and love they put into creating supply labels, daily schedules, birthday displays and so much more.

After a few weeks, it became clear there was virtually no limit to what they could create.

Just about all the decorations we see in traditional classrooms can be student made!

Here's the best part.

The resource I created that summer made co-constructing with my students extremely manageable.

My process for creating decorations

responsive classroom guided discovery reggio emilia

I love using Guided Discovery in the beginning of the school year, then leaning more towards Interactive Modeling later on as a way to help students learn and practice the use of classroom tools.

Here's my exact process for co-constructed classroom decor.

  1. I print and cut out dozens of clear, guided pictures that include everything from math posters to birthday displays.

    1. Simple Hack: Use a paper cutter

    2. Parent Volunteer Idea: Ask if anyone would be willing to cut them out for you. I find that families love being able to help out from home!

  2. Students create the classroom decor through two simple steps:

    1. Trace - with black Crayola marker

    2. Color - with crayons or colored pencils (depending on what we’ve taught) 

  3. After the labels are created, I contemplate laminating them. I ask myself, “Will students be touching this?”

    1. If the answer is “yes” - LAMINATE. 

    2. If the answer is “no” - don’t laminate. It saves plastic, money and TIME!

  4. Finally, it's time to display the creations!

    1. I use the Amazon Juvale 5x3 inch label pockets. They are a dream. I simply slide the labels in after students create them, and take them out at the end of the year - to prepare for next year’s classroom creators.

This process requires a lot of work if you're building it from scratch, but it's an easy-to-follow activity for students in our classrooms.

If you'd like to implement co-created, student made classroom decor without creating this process from scratch, I highly recommend checking out my Modern Student Made Classroom Decor Bundle on TpT!

Create Reggio Emilia classroom decor the easy way

As teachers, we're only one part of the community that makes up the classroom environment, so we shouldn't be taking up all the wall space!

Students deserve a hand in creating the decor of their environment.

The same resource I use for my students is available on TpT.

It takes all the legwork out of finding dozens of clear, guided pictures that include both traceable fonts and images.

Use my Modern Student Made Classroom Decor Bundle to give students a hand in creating:

  • Alphabet Posters

  • Number Posters

  • Classroom Calendar

  • Birthday Display

  • Jobs Chart

  • Daily Schedule

  • Supply Labels

  • Classroom Library Book Bin Labels

  • Weather Chart

  • Hand Signal Posters

  • Bathroom Reminders Posters

  • And more!

Not everything needs to be co-created, but it can be with this resource!

To see this product on my TpT store, click below.

reggia emilia classroom decor bundle

Interested in a preview of the bundle? Click the image below and try before you buy!

Final thoughts

I hope this guide has inspired you to create a student-centered space.

Adopting a Reggio Emilia inspired environment is challenging, but so worth it.

Let's make opportunities for students to create our classroom spaces!

It all starts with a manageable way to give students ownership while juggling the many other requirements curriculum requires.

If you're on a Reggio Emilia classroom decor journey, I'd love to connect on social!

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