Reggio Emilia: Catalyst for Change and Conversation. ERIC Digest.Report as inadecuate

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International perspectives on the care and education of preschool children that seem to be of greatest interest in the United States are those directly linked to prevailing concerns in American early childhood education. In this context, many early childhood specialists have explored the implications of Reggio Emilia's work for the theory, practice, and improvement of U.S. early childhood education. This digest outlines the history of Reggio Emilia's early childhood programs in order to provide insights to educators in the United States; the digest highlights some of Reggio Emilia's less visible contributions, particularly its role in promoting discourse among communities of adults in the United States, as they debate the meaning and significance of their work with young children. Also discussed is Loris Malaguzzi's influence in bringing together Italian early childhood educators to share and debate the merits of their diverse approaches to creating environments for young children. The digest concludes by noting that while it is premature to make claims about the influence of Reggio Emilia's example on children's lives, there is little question that the field of early childhood education, including teacher education, has been altered by the exchanges taking place with Italian colleagues. As a result of these cross-cultural conversations, some educators have begun to use Reggio Emilia as illustrative of how nations might best respond to children's development and learning potentials--in particular, Reggio Emilia's emphasis on local processes of knowledge construction. (LPP)

Descriptors: Early Childhood Education, Educational Environment, Educational Philosophy, Educational Practices, Foreign Countries, International Communication, International Educational Exchange, Preschool Curriculum, Reggio Emilia Approach, Young Children

Author: New, Rebecca S.


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