Loris Malaguzzi and Reggio Emilia

Loris Malaguzzi and the Reggio Emilia Experience: Book Overview

Authors: Kathy Hall, Mary Horgan, Anna Ridgway, Rosaleen Murphy, Maura Cunneen and Denice Cunningham (click on author names to access their research profiles)

The municipal pre-schools  and Nidi (infant-toddler centres) of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy have been acclaimed world-wide for the excellence of their early years’ service, and have become well-known and influential internationally both through the endorsement of leading scholars in education and as a result of the travelling exhibitions and study visits through which they share their work. Much of what has been written about the Reggio approach is extremely positive, ardent even, with few challenging voices and critical accounts.

The book was commissioned as part of the Continuum Library of Educational Thought.  It was co-written by the above team from the School of Education This book critically documents and analyzes the development of the Reggio Emilia municipal pre-schools and their world-wide reputation for excellence.

The book is divided into three sections: (1) Loris Malaguzzi and Reggio Emilia: the socio-cultural context and intellectual biography of the founder of the Reggio Emilia pre-schools and infant-toddler centres and their subsequent development (2) A critical exposition of the Reggio Emilia experience (3) an analysis of the relevance of Reggio Emilia to the discourse on quality in early childhood provision today


Who is this book relevant to/how can I access it?

This book is relevant to early years and childhood practitioners and researchers, as well as parents and policy makers. Key words related to the book include Early childhood, curriculum, Reggio Emilia approach, intellectual biography and educational ideologies.

The book is available to purchase or to order an inspection copy here 

In-depth information on the book

This book was commissioned as one in a series of volumes in the Continuum (now Bloomsbury) Library of Educational Thought, each of which presnts a key thinker in the history of education and which together act as a valuable work of reference.

Drawing on study visits to Reggio and on an analysis of the literature, this book attempts to understand the widespread appeal and universal approbation of Reggio. Those writing from ‘inside’ Reggio, those who claim to know the mind of its founder Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994) and who see themselves as responsible for disseminating its principles and practices have been reluctant to associate themselves with any one theoretical orientation, keen to distance themselves from being pigeon-holed into a single particular perspective. What then are the sets of ideas, ideologies, assumptions, principles, theories – explicit and implicit – underlying Reggio thinking and practices? This volume explores the construct of Reggio Emilia. It draws on a range of conceptual lenses to interrogate its assumptions, theories and perspectives on learning, children, professionals, knowledge, and community.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part, entitled Sociohistorical Context and Intellectual Biography, offers an historical account of the Italian contexts, events, and structures that originated and shaped the Reggio Emilia movement. The life and work of Loris Malaguzzi, its key architect, is also described in this chapter which, overall, provides an essential background to the detailed description and discussion of the Reggio principles and practices that feature in subsequent chapters. 

Part two, entitled Critical Exposition of the Reggio Emilia Experience, has four chapters, each dealing with aspects of Reggio thinking and practice and drawing on different perspectives to illuminate its fundamental ideas and methods. Part three, entitled ‘The Relevance of the Reggio Emilia Experience’ deals with issues of quality provision in early childhood settings and the extent to which Reggio thinking conforms to contemporary perspectives internationally on effective provision.

Related publications and presented by the authors


First edition (hardback) published 2010 as Vol 23 of the Continuum Library of Educational Thought.

Second edition (paperback) published 23 October 2014, in the Bloomsbury Library of Educational Thought series.


OMEP Ireland 2009 conference keynote address, subsequently published in Vol 4/5 of An Leanbh Óg, the OMEP Ireland Journal of Early Childhood Studies

Paperback 2014 edition

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