General Questions

Q:What is the “Reggio Emilia approach?”

The Reggio Emilia philosophy and approach to early childhood education has developed and continues to evolve as a result of over 50 years of experience within a system of municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Parents, who started the schools in the 1940s, continue to participate to ensure the schools reflect the values of the community. From the beginning, the late Loris Malaguzzi, leader, philosopher, and innovator in education, who was then a young teacher, guided and directed the energies of those parents and several teachers. Through many years of work with them, he developed an education based on relationship, which has become widely known and valued. The Reggio Emilia approach is built upon a solid foundation of connected philosophical principles and extensive experience. Educators in Reggio Emilia have been inspired by many early childhood psychologists and philosophers, such as Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Gardner, and Bruner.

Please understand that we are not referring to an early childhood method or set curriculum, but rather a deep knowledge in theory and community-constructed values that have been and are continuously being translated into high quality early childhood practices. As a result, educational theory and practice in Reggio Emilia is strongly connected. To learn more about the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach, read Indications – Preschools and Infant-Toddler Centres of the Municipality of Reggio EmiliaIn Dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching, and LearningThe Hundred Languages of Children – The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation, and Lella Gandini’s article, “Introduction to the Fundamental Values of the Education of Young Children in Reggio Emilia,” available to download in English and Spanish from the Bibliography of Free Resources page of the NAREA website. For more information on the history of the Reggio Emilia educational project, read One City, Many Children: Reggio Emilia, A History of the Present or view the video Not Just Anyplace: Reggio Emilia – An Educational Experience as Told by the Protagonists. You can also download articles by Reggio Emilia educators from back issues of NAREA’s quarterly periodical, Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange, for a small fee, on the Innovations Articles page of the NAREA website.

The Reggio educators’ intention in sharing their experience with educators around the world is to encourage others to understand their own values regarding childhood, education, and community. Reggio educators hope to promote dialogue among educators, so that they will come to understand their own identity as a school community. Through this process, educators can then ensure that the learning and relationships of children, teachers, and parents within their school community reflect their shared values.

Q: How can I learn more about the Reggio Emilia approach?

There are numerous professional development initiatives in North America and in Reggio Emilia for those who are interested in learning more about the experience of educators in Reggio and those in North America inspired by this philosophy. Visit the NAREA website for information on NAREA Initiatives, the NAREA Exhibit Project, and Study Groups in Reggio Emilia. For information about Reggio-related resources, visit the Resources section of the NAREA website, which includes NAREA and Reggio Children resources as well as articles available for download, and a bibliography of free resources.

Those seeking to learn more might find NAREA’s annual winter and summer conferences to be of particular interest. Each year, the conferences are located in a different community in North America, in order to encounter different regions and different contexts. The conferences generally feature the participation of educators from Reggio Emilia, Italy and encounters with “The Wonder of Learning – The Hundred Languages of Children” exhibit, and often visits to Reggio-inspired schools. Opportunities for small group discussions and networking are maximized, in order for conference participants to build stronger connections with each other in the process of learning. Summer conferences also include participatory ateliers. Visit the Conferences page of the NAREA website for more information and the Conference Reflection Videos page to view video reflections of recent conferences. Information about the NAREA Brick by Brick Series, a regional initiative organized by NAREA board and staff members, and a new NAREA initiative to support the school-age years, can be found on the NAREA Initiatives page.

 

Q: I would like to visit the infant-toddler centers and preschools in Reggio Emilia. Who should I contact?

It is only possible to visit the municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia through organized study groups. Reggio Children generally schedules at least one study group per year for North American educators and information is posted on the Study Groups in Reggio Emilia page of the NAREA website once that schedule is determined. Interested North American educators should contact Angela Ferrario, Reggio Children liaison in the U.S. for study groups, 508-473-8001. Angela will send, to interested educators, detailed information as well as registration materials for each study group when it becomes available from Reggio Children.

Educators outside of North America can visit the Reggio Children International Network page of the Reggio Children website in order to find information about contacts in their country/area of the world. These contacts will most likely be able to send you information about upcoming study groups for your particular country/area of the world. In addition, Reggio Children organizes international professional development initiatives in Reggio Emilia. Visit the Reggio Children website for more information.

Q: Is it possible to become certified as a teacher in the Reggio Emilia approach?

It is our understanding that no such certification exists. However, please see the Reggio Children website for information on international professional development initiatives offered in Reggio Emilia.

Q: I am a student researching the differences between the Reggio Emilia approach and other approaches to early childhood education. Can you help me?

Although it is not possible for our staff to assist students with their assignments, we hope that you will find useful resource and reference information within the NAREA website.

Q: I am interested in opening a Reggio-inspired school in my community. Does NAREA have training materials on the Reggio approach or resources to support this effort?  

There are many educators investing likewise in various areas of North America. We continue to observe the expansion and the deepening of this work in many places. In our observation, the work is happening in a strongly grassroots way, led mostly by informal groups of determined educators within local communities who have a capacity to interpret the human and financial resources of the local or regional community.

There are numerous professional development initiatives in North America and in Reggio Emilia for those who are interested in learning more about the experience of educators in Reggio and those in North America inspired by this philosophy. Visit the NAREA website for information on NAREA Initiatives, the NAREA Exhibit Project, and Study Groups in Reggio Emilia. For information about Reggio-related resources, visit the Resources section of the NAREA website, which includes NAREA and Reggio Children resources as well as resources available for download, and a bibliography of free resources.

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