Designing / progettazione in infant-toddler centres and preschools

Strategies for participating with children in the construction of knowledge




This series of webinars deals with the theme of designing / progettazione as a form of thinking which - coherent with the most recent research data in psychology and epistemology, and with a democratic vision of education and society - gives shape to strategies that seek to construct a reciprocal relationship between theory and practice in education and teaching.

By using a wide range of documentary material we will be offering a synthesis of our experience, matured over decades, in Reggio Emilia's municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools.




As teachers we receive a background in theory that very often does not correspond to widespread practices in early childhood centres. This tradition of practice is passed down through direct action and based on programmes that structurally pre-define objectives and the pathways through which we achieve them. It is a procedure that offers a sense of security but which individual teachers can find very difficult to modify alone.

Every child is different and has their own subjective ways of elaborating representations from the data they receive from their physical, cultural, and social environment. Pre-defined educational programmes and curricula tend to make these differences into something uniform.  

Instead, progettazione / designing offers a vision and actions that while oriented towards objectives, are capable of leaving fixed moorings and welcoming uncertainty and possibility, of valuing the question rather than the answer, and of feeling open to wonder and research.

To do this we cannot improvise, we need tools of reflection and strategy, coherent with this kind of mindset.

The professional learning we offer in this series will discuss on the level of theory - ideas on how children shape pathways of learning and construct knowledge, the relationship between biological constraints and experience, the role of inter-subjectivity - but consistent with the intention we have declared these will constantly be viewed in relation to concrete documented situations.

To facilitate a deeper understanding of "prefigurations" (envisioning) and the construction of learning contexts, certain themes that are also an important part of the designing /progettazione process will be mentioned only briefly, in particular observation, documentation and "re-launching".

We will be offering dedicated professional learning opportunities on these themes in the future.





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Reggio Emilia Approach

The Reggio Emilia Approach® is an educational philosophy based on the image of a child with strong potentialities for development and a subject with rights, who learns through the hundred languages belonging to all human beings, and grows in relations with others.