Child-led learning is one of the key phrases used when defining Reggio-inspired programs such as Bambini Learning Group.

People often underestimate child-led learning and feel more comfortable with traditional approaches. The familiarity of traditional early learning environments may feel more comfortable, but there are numerous benefits of children participating in child care programs that are child-led in their approach.

This article explores the key features and benefits of child-led programs. It’s our hope that this information will assist families in their journey of choosing a quality early learning and child care centre for their child.


Child-led learning-building a foundation


Before we delve into what child-led learning is… we first need to expose what it isn’t.

Child-led learning isn’t:

  • lacking in thought, reflection, and/or planning

  • unsupervised

  • letting children do whatever they want, whenever they want

In fact, child-led learning experiences are rich in open-ended play opportunities and have many benefits.



A child-led program encourages children to ask questions and to find answers. This practice develops learning dispositions such as inquisitiveness, creativity, perseverance, cooperation, and problem-solving.

In addition, rather than giving answers, directing, or instructing, educators thoughtfully apply strategies that will enable ways for children to discover the answers to their own questions. This particular strategy enhances their self-image as competent, confident, and self-motivated learners.



The foundation of a quality child-led program is the thoughtful observation of children. Based on the educator’s observations, they prepare an environment with which the child can interact, furthering their learning and development.

While these interactions with the prepared environment take place, educators conduct additional observations. They may adjust the environment to provoke deeper exploration and thought.

Child-led learning-building a foundation


When the child is determining the direction in which to explore a topic and/or their environment, the learning becomes less pressured. There isn’t a milestone to be achieved or an academic marker to meet. The learning occurs at the child’s pace.

When there isn’t pressure to learn, there’s less frustration and more fascination.



Long ago, around the third century BCE, Confucian philosopher Xunzi (Xun Kuang) shared the sentiment:

Tell me and I forget;

Teach me and I may remember;

Involve me and I learn.

When children participate in a child-led learning program, they are more likely to retain what they learn because the topics are of interest to them. When they are seeking answers to their questions, they are more likely to remember their discoveries because it was of interest to them in the first place.



Since child-led learning is driven by a child’s interests and self-paced explorations, they often enjoy the process and develop a love for learning.

Children are naturally curious and this curiosity drives much of a child’s learning in their early years.



Years ago in the early education field, child care programs had activity centres in their rooms. Often the materials within the program were limited to the activity centre it was meant for (ie. building blocks are kept in the block centre, housekeeping toys are kept in the dramatic play centre, etc.). However, with child-led learning, as long as the activity is safe, resources can be used in many different ways. The resources extend as far as the child’s imagination!

For example, without limits to the resources, the children can build a house in the block centre out of the building blocks. Then they can use the housekeeping materials (such as blankets, dolls, dishes, and toy food) to furnish and equip their house.



Fred Rogers (a.k.a. Mr. Rogers) once said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” A child-led learning approach provides ample time, space, and resources for play – it is the cornerstone of a quality early learning and child care program.

Bambini embraces a child-led learning approach because of its tremendous benefits for children.

If you would like to learn more about how Bambini uses child-led learning in our programs, we invite you to book a tour with one of our exceptional Bambini experts.




Bambini Learning Group is a Reggio-inspired, holistic child care program located in Edmonton, Alberta. Their vision is to inspire families to live healthier, more meaningful lives. Through innovative, holistic, and supportive resources, Bambini is helping children live the authentic childhood they deserve. New locations coming soon! Contact Bambini for more information about their unique, holistic child care program at [email protected], or book a tour to see Bambini for yourself!



JENNIFER BLY is the Communications Consultant for Bambini Learning Group, a published author, and creator of The Deliberate Mom, a website full of parenting and homemaking inspiration. Jennifer has over 20 years of experience in the Early Childhood field. In addition, she holds a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.