Reggio Emilia

The History

The Reggio Emilia Approach was founded in Reggio Emilia, a small city in northern Italy shortly after World War II. According to legend, five days after the second world war ended there was a group of women who were looking for a different kind of childcare for their children, one that would foster critical thinking and collaboration skills. They decided that they wanted to build a school out of the rubble that had been left behind by the retreating Germans so that they could give the next generation the foundation that made them intolerant of injustice and inequality. Together with Loris Malaguzzi they built their first municipal preschool in 1963 financed by selling a tank, nine horses, and two military trucks. It was built by hand through the collaboration of Malaguzzi and the local villagers who found a light in the promise to inspire young minds when the world appeared dim.

The Person

Louis Malaguzzi was born in Corregio, Italy in 1920. He enrolled in a teacher training class in 1939 and completed it during World War II and in 1946 he enrolled in a postwar psychology course in Rome. . Upon hearing of the women in Reggio, he went to the town and was so impressed that he stayed and became an integral part of the Reggio Emilia Approach, using his education and psychology background to design an approach that impressed people all across the world.

The Principles

American interest in the Approach started in 1987 at the annual National Association for the Education of Young Children and has continued to grow ever since. The Reggio Emilia Approach looks different outside the context of Reggio Emilia, Italy and as such, the cultural and historical contexts of each school varies creating the Reggio Inspired Approach. This approach is much different from the instructional approach typically seen throughout the United States where children's learning is often planned for them. In the US children are viewed as blank canvases where teachers design and decide their outcomes. The Reggio Emilia approach sees children as individuals who are capable of doing and communicating their unique abilities in extraordinary ways. Fia Mia Academy is inspired by the Reggio Emilia schools.

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