Innovations Peer-Review

Bridging Borders

Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange is pleased to make one of its peer-reviewed articles available to the public audience. NAREA is grateful for the collaborations in North America that give visibility to children, families, teachers, and communities. Too often, adults speak on behalf of children. Here, in this timely and poignant article, listen to the views of children and adults as they go about their daily lives in a community that happens to be located along the US/Mexico border.

Innovations September 2018 – Bridging Borders: Children’s Right to Dignity, Civility, and Dialogue


2021 Topic Theme: With the courage to leap: Responding to crisis with ingenuity, creativity, and love

Call for Proposals for the Fall 2021 Peer-Review Issue of Innovations

About Innovations

Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange is a quarterly periodical published by the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) that focuses on the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education. Innovations was developed in 1992 through an agreement with Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia educational project, and continues to be developed in solidarity with the Preschools and Infant-toddler Centers, Istituzione of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, Italy; Reggio Children; and the Reggio Children – Loris Malaguzzi Center Foundation. The mission of Innovations is to provide an ongoing professional development resource that respectfully represents the values and educational principles of the municipal infant-toddler centers and preschools in Reggio Emilia as well as those of educators in schools, centers, universities, and colleges in North America and beyond who are actively engaged in the study of the Reggio Emilia Approach with children, colleagues, and families in their community.

An Annual Peer-Reviewed Issue of Innovations: Rationale and Description

In an effort to include more and diverse voices in an increasingly democratic dialogue among early childhood educators who are engaged in the study of the Reggio Emilia Approach, Innovations will publish one peer-reviewed issue annually. This annual peer-reviewed issue will include articles that are meant to support collaboration among teachers by integrating reflection and analysis of the shared and reciprocal research and inquiry of teachers, children, and families. In addition, the peer-reviewed issue will include reflections related to each article, written by one of the Consulting Editorial Board, with the goal of inviting readers to relate to their own contexts what they have read and experienced as members of a collaborative. Our intention is to support the work of Reggio-inspired teachers in North America by thinking together through deeper and more complex analysis of, and reflection on, our own work and that of our colleagues. The peer-review process has been designed to reflect a shared view of learning as a process of individual and group construction and to support the learning processes of children and adults through educational documentation, which includes listening, observation, and interpretation. Our goal is to establish collaborative partnerships among educators, children, families, and community members for systems change and social justice that recognizes the rights of children to quality education.

Topic for the Fall 2021 Issue – With the courage to leap: Responding to crisis with ingenuity, creativity, and love

The first exhibit of the children’s work and accompanying documentation from the schools in Reggio Emilia was entitled, “The eye, if it leaps over the wall.” As Loris Malaguzzi explains:

The meaning behind this was that the eye (the mind, pedagogy, the education of a child) begins to see, to reason and to renew itself to the extent that it is able to leap over the wall…the wall of the banal, the rhetorical, the wall of conformity, of inertia and official reticence (Malaguzzi, 1987, p. 16).

Perhaps the most important word in that title is “if.” Sometimes, events help us to be aware of the walls we have built, and the walls that perhaps have defined us. These walls may be made of assumptions, of power imbalances, of long-established practice that has become invisible, of comfortable banality that has seduced us with feelings of confidence in the absence of questions and challenges. Walls can define binaries: qualified, unqualified; in, out; good, bad. They can also help us to see when we have made a change, when we look back and see that we have made the leap, that the wall is behind us.

The pandemic we have all faced can certainly be seen as a wall, a demarcation of before and after. Through this globally shared experience we have strengthened our awareness of how deeply we value relationships, of how we have taken for granted people who are doing jobs that are now recognized as essential, and of how citizens can come together to act in the interest of all. We discovered that when we pressed pause, our planet began to breathe again. What will we do now?  We can see it as Malaguzzi did, as a call to leap. Will we race to re-establish the old “normal,” or blow on the embers of these fragile sensibilities to build a bonfire around which we might gather? Will we build a new road to walk on, together? Can we summon the courage to embrace uncertainty, knowing that the word “courage” comes from the French word for heart?

We have here children and adults who are looking for the pleasure of playing, working, talking, thinking and inventing things together. They are trying to get to know both each other and themselves, and to understand how the world works and how it could be made to work better and be enjoyed in friendship (Malaguzzi, 1987, p. 22).

Embracing nostalgia for the future, Malaguzzi’s words are timely. We invite educators to consider with optimism the intentions that you will be foregrounding in coming months and years. What changes will become urgent? What stories will you tell of this difficult but crucial and exhilarating task of the leap over the wall, when you walk with children and families and communities to see how the world “could be made to work better and be enjoyed in friendship”? How will you respond to the provocation of Malaguzzi’s “if”?.

To help illustrate the topic—With the courage to leap: Responding to crisis with ingenuity, creativity, and love—the following are guiding questions to consider in your work:

  • What are you now recognizing as “the wall”? What policies and practices were taken for granted before that are now seeming to be unnecessary, or perhaps would even be impediments to building a new road to a different world? What is different? Are some words that were commonly used before standing out now, calling for reflection? What changes are you noticing among the children, colleagues, and families?
  • There will always be pressures to “stay the course.” What are you doing now to ensure that “the leap” maintains momentum and to resist being pulled back by the strong magnetic force of nostalgia for the past?
  • Are you rereading documentation differently, perhaps recognizing assumptions that were not evident before and that you might want to interrogate? Are you documenting with different questions in mind now? What are you noticing about your noticing?
  • As the context of teaching and learning shifted during the pandemic, how have experiences and encounters been designed, organized, and planned? What processes have been helpful?
  • How has the climate of uncertainty challenged and informed beliefs and practices during this time?
  • How have you considered the principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach in your work moving forward? How are the principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach guiding your work? Are you seeing the principles in new ways?
  • How have the relationships and participation of the families, educators, and children evolved during and after the pandemic
  • How have you supported dialogue, exchanges, and collaboration with children and adults during the pandemic? What are some examples of experiences used to foster relationships among the participants in the learning process?
  • What ways has the role of teacher as researcher supported, listened to, and documented the creative processes of children?
Proposals for Manuscripts

As in the past, we are asking authors to submit a proposal describing the context, focus, and key elements of the experience that will be more fully discussed and analyzed in their manuscript. Interested educators must submit a proposal to Thresa Grove by October 5, 2020. Those submitting will receive responses regarding the status of their proposal by November 20, 2020.

Proposals must include:

  • A statement regarding whether the manuscript has been submitted or published elsewhere – previously published manuscripts will not be accepted.
  • Title and summary (1-2 pages), which includes information about the author(s); the school, university, or center; and the community that is the context of the manuscript.
  • A list of selected references in APA Style (7th edition). Reference list should include works by Reggio Emilia educators that will be used for analysis and writing of the manuscript.
  • We are seeking representation from a variety of contexts, a broad range of ages of children, and multiple perspectives of people who come into and who are part of the children’s world.
Guidelines and Requirements for Submitted Manuscripts

Authors of accepted proposals must submit their manuscript by January 15, 2021. We ask you to submit a manuscript that includes information detailed in the proposal (see above) as well as the following additional elements:

  • A discussion of how the Reggio Emilia Approach informed the author(s) “leap over the wall” during this unprecedented time.
  • A discussion of the major points, questions, theories, and interpretations that were generated through the collaborative exchange of perspectives between teachers, children, and families?
  • Questions that the author(s) are considering as they plan for the future in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
  • An analysis of the authors’ professional learning and development.

Additionally, please follow these formatting guidelines:

  • Write in an informal, conversational style rather than in an academic style, characteristic of university term papers. Manuscripts written in active voice rather than passive voice are preferred.
  • Submit unformatted, double-spaced manuscript in an electronic Word file in 12-point type. A typical manuscript length is 3,000–4,000 words.
  • Include the name of the author(s) as well as title, affiliation, and history of interest in the Reggio Emilia Approach. In addition, each author is asked to submit a thumbnail photograph (head and shoulders, 1.25” wide x 1.5” high, 300 dpi in original JPG or TIF file).
  • Photographs should be submitted in high-resolution images (8” x 10”, 100% @ 300 dpi in original JPG or TIF file). Drawings/representations should also be submitted electronically in JPG or TIF files. Authors must submit written permission for all photographs from parents or legal guardians. The NAREA Photographic Release form is available upon request.
  • Provide accurate and complete information for references and resources formatted in APA Style (7th edition).
Peer-Review Process

Further details can be found on the Peer-Review Process document.


Malaguzzi, L. (1987). The hundred languages of children. I cento linguaggi dei bambini: The hundred languages of children [Exhibition Catalogue](1st ed., pp. 16-19). City of Reggio Emilia Department of Education.

Malaguzzi, L. (1987). Commentary: Towards a code for reading the exhibition. I cento linguaggi dei bambini: The hundred languages of children [Exhibition Catalogue](1st ed., pp. 16-19 & 22-24). City of Reggio Emilia Department of Education. 

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