Started by parents in 1945, Reggio Emilia was as an alternative to the strait-laced, church-monopolized institutions that dominated Italian early education at the time. Amidst the rubble of post-World War II Italy, the community raised from almost nothing, preschools that would far exceed the custodial services appropriated by the Mussolini’s government. News of the experiment spread and Reggio schools were popping up in disadvantaged wards of the city. A young teacher, Loris Malaguzzi, was to provide leadership to the movement, that would continue till his death in 1994. “Our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountains, as high as possible.” Loris Malaguzzi
Malaguzzi studied psychology in Rome, where he took inspiration from such thinkers as Vygotsky, Dewey, Piaget, and Bruner. Bruner and Vygotsky’s recognition of the child’s natural problem-solving capacities, and of the role of culture in developing the mind, fit Malaguzzi’s own perceptions.
John Dewey believed that true education should stimulate a child ‘to conceive of himself from the standpoint of the welfare of the group to which he belongs.’ If any one concept embraces all other aspects of the Reggio curriculum and environment, it is this one.
The number of these parent-run centers rose steadily, and in 1967 the municipality took over their administration and financing. The Reggio preschools (and infant-toddler centres, publicly mandated since the 1970s) are available to children from birth to six regardless of economic circumstance or physical disability, and continue successfully to this day.
In the early 90s Newsweek magazine recognized Reggio Emilia as one of the top approaches to preschool education in the world. This groundbreaking philosophy soon became more popular across the United States, including a growing number of public schools.
Reggio established a new educational framework based on the idea of relationships and