About Narea

Our History. Our Philosophy. Our Impact.

What is the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance?

We exist to closely connect the practices and philosophies of the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy, to its advocates and education professionals in the United States and Canada and those individuals to each other. We do it through sharing knowledge, community-based professional development, and a unique, direct relationship with Reggio Emilia’s resident experts. We are a network of educators, parents, and advocates seeking to elevate both the quality of life and the quality of schools and centers for young children. We envision a world where all children are honored and respected for their potential, capabilities, and humanity. Our mission is to build a diverse community of advocates and educators to promote and defend the rights of children, families, and teachers of all cultures through pedagogy that innovates.


Our Conviction is Childhood Matters


There are many images of young children from which to choose. The image of the child we have chosen recognizes that, from birth, children are eager and biologically equipped to learn and to relate. They seek to examine, experience, and connect with the people and phenomena surrounding them. In education and in life, children thrive within complex environments and experiences where there is time for the pleasure of learning and being, reciprocity, exchange, a strong sense of belonging, and optimism for the future.

We base our efforts on Reggio Emilia’s early education project and the city’s wider vision of continually investing in the learning of citizens of all ages. NAREA offers experiences for deepening knowledge to educators and others. We believe, as did Loris Malaguzzi, visionary first director of their municipal education project, that intelligent children deserve intelligent teachers. Through knowing children well and bearing witness to the strategies of children’s thinking, we can learn more about our roles as adults in children’s lives.

What is the Reggio Emilia Approach?

Principles and Values

The Reggio Emilia Approach refers to the early childhood education project that originated in Reggio Emilia, Italy, following the destruction of World War II. Reggio Emilia is a town of approximately 175,000 citizens still thriving today, more than 60 years since the first gestures of rebuilding and advancing were made.

Our Guiding Principles:

  • We hold a strong and optimistic image of the child who is born with many resources and extraordinary potentials.
  • The 100 languages are a metaphor for the extraordinary potentials of children.
  • Learning occurs within a process of individual and group construction.
  • Making creative knowledge processes of children and adults visible bears witness to the active strategies of children’s thinking.
  • Research represents one of the essential dimensions of life in children and adults, a knowledge-building tension that must be recognized and valued.
  • The flow of quality information via documentation and dialogue introduces parents to a quality of knowing that tangibly changes expectations.
  • Participation of adults and children values and fosters dialogue and a sense of belonging to a community.
  • Evaluation is ongoing, structuring the experience of education and the operation of the school and is understood as a public act of dialogue and interpretation.
  • Aesthetics, beautiful or not, are part of every learning process. Build beauty.

extraordinary potentials of children

the metaphor of the 100 languages

Research represents one of the essential dimensions of life in children

Participation of adults and children values and fosters dialogue

Aesthetics are part of every learning process

Who was Loris Malaguzzi?

Collaborator, Visionary, Researcher, Communicator

A history of reggio emilia
and narea

  • 1945

    A New Philosophy Begins

    The Reggio Emilia project of early childhood education has its origins in a particular place and time, namely the village of Villa Cella just outside Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 1945, at the end of the World War II.

  • 1963

    Reggio Emilia Opens The First Municipal Preschool

    In 1963, existing preschools are transferred to the city government, thanks to the strength, initiative, and imagination of workers, farmers, and a famous group of the time, the Union of Italian Women (U.D.I.).

  • 1981

    Reggio Emilia Creates The First Exhibition

    The first exhibition brought the work of the children and adults into view for the citizens of Reggio Emilia. Soon after, upon the request of Swedish educators who had seen the exhibition, it moved to Sweden, opening at the Modern Museum in Stockholm.

  • 1987


    As part of a variety of exhibits about the products, crafts, and art of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, The Hundred Languages of Children exhibition was displayed in Ghirardelli Square.

  • 1994

    Reggio Children Founded

    Following the untimely death of Loris Malaguzzi on January 30, 1994, Reggio Children is founded to promote his vision, and to support the infant-toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia.

  • 2002

    Narea Launches

    With the participation of Reggio Children representatives, NAREA is launched at a meeting during the NAEYC conference in New York City.

  • 2003

    Reggio Emilia Forms Instituzione

    Aware of the civil and cultural wealth represented by Reggio’s educational services, the municipality of Reggio Emilia manages this network of services through the work of a specific body called, Istituzione Scuole e Nidi d’Infanzia.

  • 2005

    First Conference with Reggio Children

    NAREA hosts its first summer conference in collaboration with Reggio Children.

  • 2006

    Reggio Children Forms the International Network

    The Reggio Children International Network is founded with NAREA as one of the participating networks.

  • 2008

    Dialogues for Quality in Education Initiative Started

    NAREA launches “Dialogues for Quality in Education,” an initiative connected to an updated version of the exhibition in North America, The Wonder of Learning—The Hundred Languages of Children, a mutual project with Reggio Children.

  • 2010

    The 1st NAREA Winter Conference

    302 participants joined NAREA and Reggio representatives, Amelia Gambetti and Lella Gambetti, in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • 2011

    Reggio Emilia Forms FONDAZIONE

    Fondazione Reggio Children – Centro Loris Malaguzzi is established as a non-profit with NAREA as one of three promoting partners from the International Network.

  • 2012

    NAREA Celebrates 10th Anniversary

    Swedish colleagues from the International Network traveled to Atlanta in celebration. Lella and Amelia offered historic reflections on North American efforts.

  • 2020

    The 1st NAREA Fall Conference

    164 participants joined NAREA and Reggio representatives, Tiziana Filippini and Mirella Ruozzi, in a livestream event.

  • 2022


    Possibilities are renewed, multiplied, and celebrated as the global pandemic recedes.

  • NOW

    Narea Today

    We have supported more than 320,000 educators and advocates in schools and organizations throughout the United States, Canada, and beyond. We are investing in a new image of education that empowers children and adults to reach their potential through learning contexts that are coherent with a contemporary, professional body of knowledge.

Your support will help us advance the quality of every child's one childhood.

Together, we are empowering exceptional education.