Home' Teacher : October 2010 Contents 34 TEACHER OCTOBER 2010
The Reggio Emilia schools have their early
roots in the 1940s 'people's nursery schools'
movement set up by women's organisations
that developed in a period of local history
dominated by the Italian left-wing National
The principles and practice of the move-
ment, however, really began in earnest in
1963, when the local council in the town
of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy took
over the running of the nurseries and they
became a public service.
The council employed a young pedago-
gist, Loris Malaguzzi, as their advisor from
1963 until his death in 1994. It was his
innovative ideas that brought Reggio Emilia
schools to international attention. In 1994
Reggio Children, an organisation that pro-
motes this educational experience, was born.
Reggio Children is now the biggest pro-
vider of childcare in Italy, with 21 preschools
and 13 toddler centres. It also runs a pub-
lishing company and a clean recycled mate-
rials distribution centre, and holds regular
exhibitions and international study groups.
Every year Reggio Children runs between
16 and 20 study groups with the participa-
tion of anywhere between 80 and 400 del-
egates, from all over the world. There are
Reggio Children branch organisations in
about 20 countries, which help to spread
In Sweden, the national early childhood
curriculum has been based on Reggio prin-
ciples for the last 30 years. In Australia, it
has been popular since at least 1995. Reggio
Emilia pedagogy is among the most influen-
tial of early childhood philosophies in the
Under the guidance of Malaguzzi, the
Reggio Emilia approach promoted child-
centred education and, in particular, the
belief that children have a voice to be heard.
Children are seen as active participants in
their own education and it's the teacher's role
to facilitate and promote the child's voice,
with particular emphasis on children's active,
constructive and creative learning processes.
SARAH SCOTT LOOKS AT THE SEMINAL IDEAS THAT UNDERPIN THE DESIGN OF REGGIO EMILIA SCHOOLS,
WHERE EVERYONE IS SHARING, DISCOVERING, INVENTING AND PARTICIPATING.
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