Reggio Children | Loris Malaguzzi International Centre | Reggio Emilia Approach

The teacher's "prefigurations"

Preparing conceptual and operational tools for undertaking a journey of progettazione/design thinking


This webinar is part of A SERIES OF WEBINARS ON DESIGN / PROGETTAZIONE: Design / progettazione in infant-toddler centres and preschools. Strategies for participating with children in the construction of knowledge

This webinar is on demand. You can view it whenever you like for 6 months after purchase, in your personal area.

What are adult "prefigurations"?

How are they constructed?

How are they related to the research and interests of the children making up a particular class group?

What difference is there between prefiguring and programming?

These are questions will try to answer in this webinar, based on experience built up over decades in Reggio Emilia's infant-toddler centres and preschools.


The webinar focuses on how teachers structure their thinking and collect clues form children to start a journey of progettazione / design thinking. In fact each journey of this kind is highly localised and anchored to the group of children with whom it is co-constructed.

Curricular programming shares with progettazione / design a need for analysing context in order to choose our intents and ways to pursue them.

However observation and analysis of observations are not the first step. In fact neither is neutral: both are based on knowledge and theories of reference that teachers already possess, and around which, sometimes unconsciously, they structure their analysis.  

It is important therefore, to subject the ways we make observations and analysis to critical investigation, and bring awareness to the gaze we pose on children, which is to say, include ourselves in observation and interpretation.


This is what we propose in the first webinar, above all in relation to children's first encounters with the new context of infant-toddler centre and preschool, however it is an exercise that comes round in a cyclical, spiral way during the entire process of progettazione /design.

What facts do we extrapolate from observation as a subjective act of knowing?

How do we make them the object of exchanges of point of view with colleagues?

How do we interpret them, and compose them into prefigurations that will be our provisional and dynamic props as we proceed with researching new learning together with children?

How does our interpretation weave together with the children's ever evolving knowledge?


Through short pieces of documentation, and starting with children's first entry into infant-toddler centres and preschools, we will try to reveal this evolving process that develops in recursive forms, offering a synthesis of experience matured over several decades in Reggio Emilia's municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools. 

Paola Cagliari

Paola Cagliari was a teacher in Reggio Emilia’s “Diana” municipal preschool, pedagogista in the Pedagogical Coordination, and Director of the Istituzione of Preschools and Infant-toddler Centres of Reggio Emilia Municipality. For Reggio Children, she collaborates on realising projects involving research, publishing, exhibitions, and professional learning journeys, in Italy and abroad.

Lucia Colla

Lucia Colla has been a Teacher Educator for the Istituzione of Preschools and Infant-toddler Centres of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia since 2007.
Colla collaborates with Reggio Children on the realisation of publishing projects and professional learning journeys, through participation in seminars and workshops in Italy and abroad.

Video themes:
Educational projects Educational philosophy (Reggio Emilia Approach)

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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.