The Reggio Approach

After World War II, local educators, parents and community members in the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy, came together with aspirations to create the most desirable preschool system for their children. After several years of experimentation, the town invited Loris Malaguzzi, a well-known Italian educational pedagogue, to assist them in developing an innovative pedagogy for their schools. Together, community members developed an approach that combined theories from Dewey, Montessori, Piaget, Vygotsky and others. Twenty-two community preschools and thirteen infant/toddler centers were created that focused on a social constructivist approach to learning (Malaguzzi, 1998).

Over the years the Reggio approach has become increasingly popular and is now considered one of the best preschool educational approaches in the world. The Reggio approach, as it is practiced in Reggio Emilia, Italy, cannot be exactly replicated. This is because the practice is based on the current interests, knowledge base, and culture of the children in a particular school. In addition, there is currently no professional certification or training available for the Reggio approach. Only teachers who are actually employed in Reggio Emilia preschools are authorized to teach the Reggio approach. Preschools that emulate Reggio approaches and practices are therefore considered “Reggio-inspired.”

Malaguzzi, L. (1998). History, ideas, and basic philosophy. In C. P. Edwards, L. Gandani, & G. Forman (Eds.), The one hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach—Advanced reflections (pp. 49–97). Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.