Reggio Emilia

Reggio Emilia is an international movement and model of education, named after the city in Italy where it began.


History of the Approach

Reggio Emilia founder, Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994) was inspired by American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, John Dewey, as well as psychologists Vygotsky and Piaget.  

Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development.

Lori Malaguzzi graduated in pedagogy and began his career as a primary school teacher. He later qualified as an educational psychologist and founded Reggio Emilia’s Psycho-Pedagogical Medical Centre. In 1963 he began opening pre-schools 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 (Carnie 2017).

Their success has been the inspiration for many schools around the world.


The Reggio Emilia Philosophy

The Reggio Emilia approach is based on Malaguzzi’s belief that children have the potential for self-development. He was also an advocate for children’s rights and believed that children learn and grow through social relationships.

His philosophy is based on a number of distinctive characteristics: 

  • Collaborative involvement of parents and the local community. 
  • The importance of the educational environment. This should include a special workshop or studio known as an atelier which houses an assortment of tools and resources.
  • Teachers are traditionally called atelieristas and are seen as learners or researchers, always experimenting with new ideas.
  • It is child-centred with an emphasis on following the child’s interests.  

This video explains a bit more about the approach:


Reggio Emilia Schools Directory

You can search our directory of education providers for Reggio Emilia-inspired schools and learning communities in the UK.


Books About Reggio Emilia

Bringing the Reggio Approach to your Early Years Practice (Bringing … to your Early Years Practice)by Linda Thornton 

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 

In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching and Learning: Contextualising, Interpreting and Evaluating Early Childhood Education (Contesting Early Childhood), by Carlina Rinaldi 

Experiencing reggio emilia: Implications for Pre-school Provision, by Leslie Abbott and Cathy Nutbrown

Art and Creativity in Reggio Emilia: Exploring the Role and Potential of Ateliers in Early Childhood Education (Contesting Early Childhood), by Vea Vecchi 

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

Loris Malaguzzi and the Reggio Emilia Experience (Bloomsbury Library of Educational Thought), by Kathy Hall


Useful Reggio Emilia Websites

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.


Reggio Emilia Facebook Groups

The Reggio Emilia Approach – Product Group Share

The Reggio Emilia Approach – Courses and Book Share

The Reggio Emilia Approach

Progressive EducationOur supportive forum discussing progressive approaches to education (including Reggio Emila) and why they are so important for the 21st century.