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Founder of the Reggio Approach
Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education is named after the town of Reggio Emilia in the EmiliaThe Romagna province of northern Italy. In Reggio Emilia, publicly funded schools provide education for children from birth to six years. These schools have been described as among the best in the world! Although the Reggio approach was initially implemented in Early Childhood settings, it is now being integrated in Elementary schools around the world including Reggio Emilia itself.
The schools of Reggio Emilia began as a parent initiative. With the end of World War II, parents in Italy banded together and founded the town’s first pre-school. They had a vision for a new kind of school where children would be treated with respect and parents would be active participants in their children’s education.
The parents sought the help of educator Loris Malaguzzi (1920 – 1994) to set up schools that reflected their vision. From the start, the Reggio early childhood approach reflected openness and responsiveness to new ideas and developed a curriculum that differs from the rigidity of public schools. His approach was to stimulate long-term in-depth research projects as the primary path to learning, which is one of the fundamental features of Reggio that inspires and sets it apart from conventional settings. Throughout his whole life and work, Malaguzzi inspired and guided educational reforms to early education across the entire globe.
International recognition of the Reggio preschools exploded in 1991, when a panel of experts commissioned by Newsweek magazine identified the preschools of Reggio Emilia as one of the “best top ten schools in the world” (Newsweek 1991). Also, this innovative educational approach has made an impact quickly worldwide through the Hundred Languages of Children exhibits. This display is a traveling exhibition that has been telling the story of the Reggio Emilia educational experience worldwide to thousands of visitors for over twenty-five years.
Today, leading corporations and institutions are increasingly adopting the Reggio Emilia approach for their preschool programs. Google and the World Bank, for example, have become prominent users and advocates for this approach to early childhood education. Today the Reggio Emilia Approach is used by them and over 5,000 other schools worldwide.
“Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.” - Loris Malaguzzi