Reggio Emilia is an international movement of education, named after a city in Italy close to where it began. At the end of the second world war, the Italian Women’s Movement (UDI) were striving to create a new form of education that would prevent future generations from growing up in a culture of inequality and injustice. These women were instrumental in the formation of radically different preschools which were built from the rubble of damaged buildings. You can read more about this here.
Inspired by this community initiative – as well as the ideas of psychologists Piaget, Vygotsky and Dewey – a teacher named Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994) trained as a psychologist and became a leader in the parent cooperative movement, supporting parents and teachers in the education of young children.
He went on to found Reggio Emilia’s Psycho-Pedagogical Medical Centre and in 1963, began opening preschools in Reggio Emilia which he managed for several years.
Now around a third of all children up to the age of six who live in Reggio Emilia are educated at one of a network of over 30 schools which have been created by Malaguzzi and his contemporaries. The schools are run democratically by parents, teachers and the local community (Carnie 2017) and their success has been the inspiration for many other schools around the world.
The Reggio Emilia approach is based on children’s rights and the idea that children have the potential for self-development. Sightlines Initiative, the UK resource centre for Reggio Emilia, outlines the key principals of the approach, including:
This video explains a bit more about the approach:
You can search our directory of education providers for Reggio Emilia-inspired schools and learning communities in the UK.
The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation, 3rd Edition, by Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini, et al.
Understanding the Reggio Approach (Understanding the… Approach), by Linda Thornton and Pat Brunton
Experiencing reggio emilia: Implications for Pre-school Provision, by Leslie Abbott and Cathy Nutbrown
In the Spirit of the Studio: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia, Second Edition (Early Childhood Education), by Lella Gandini, Lynne T. Hill, et al.
Reggio-Inspired Mathematics, by Richmond School District
Reggio Emilia Encounters: Children and adults in collaboration, by Pat Wharton and Linda Kinney
Bringing Reggio Emilia Home: An Innovative Approach to Early Childhood Education (Early Childhood Education Series), by Louise Boyd Cadwell and Lella Gandini
Reggio Children is an organisation which publishes information and organises events about the Reggio Emilia approach. It also has a network of useful contacts and organisations in other countries around the world.
Sightlines Initiative is the UK reference organisation for Reggio Emilia’s preschools and an active member of the international network. It has a good reference section on the Reggio Emilia approach.
Interaction Imagination is a resource by play and education activist, Suzanne Axelsson. She offers workshops and presentations, and blogs about ideas that she has tested over the years, her thinking about play, ‘Original Learning’, working democratically with young children, The Reggio Emilia Approach, philosophy with children and more…