Preface
by Lilian G. Katz

Early childhood educators around the world continue to be deeply inspired and enlightened by what we are learning from the preprimary schools of Reggio Emilia. We are pleased to present this collection of recent papers representing a variety of perspectives on the implications of the Reggio Emilia approach to early education.

Four of the papers were presented at the "Images of the World: Study Seminar on the Experience of the Municipal Infant- Toddler Centers and Preprimary Schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy" (June 1994). My paper takes up a series of issues-related problems that warrant consideration when attempting to adapt and adopt the Reggio Emilia approach in the United States. Brenda Fyfe shares important insights gained by a group of teachers in the St. Louis areas as they face the daily practical problems involved in implementing the approach in their own classrooms. Rebecca New places the issues in the larger cultural context in which early childhood practitioners work and draws our attention to the similarities and differences in which teachers in Italy and the United States perform their daily work and how they influence their efforts. George Forman focuses on the important role of graphic 'languages' in young children's learning and deepens our understanding of the potential value of drawing in young children's learning.

Carlina Rinaldi, "pedagogista" of the municipal preprimary schools of Reggio Emilia, outlines their unique approach to staff development and staff relationships, one of the central components of their approach. Giordana Rabbitti's paper is based on her detailed case study of a project conducted in one of the preprimary schools in Reggio Emilia that gives us the flavor of the day-to-day implementation of their approach.

The paper by Edwards, Gandini and Nimmo focuses on how teachers in three communities, two in Italy and one in the United States, define their roles and their beliefs about the nature of children as learners.

While the seven papers included in this collection were prompted by different purposes and occasions, they offer a rich mixture of ideas and information about early childhood education at its best. We are grateful to the authors for their willingness to share their insights and experience.

Lilian G. Katz
November 1994


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