Reggio Emilia Alliance Ireland

Early Childhood Ireland supports and is inspired by the approach to care and education in the infant toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia.

Early Childhood Ireland and Reggio Emilia

Early Childhood Ireland has a long association with the infant toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia in Italy dating back to 2002 when staff members attended an international study visit to Reggio Emilia. This was the beginning of a relationship which was formalised on becoming the Reggio Children International Network partners for Ireland In 2010.

“Today we think of the concept of internationalism not only as crossing geographical frontiers but metaphorical and symbolic frontiers too, in a permanent attempt to go beyond the confines of our mentalities and our feelings”
Carla Rinaldi

Early Childhood Ireland supports and is inspired by the approach to care and education in the infant toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia. This approach is underpinned by a number of principles based on an image of the children as; “Active protagonists of their growth and development processes”. This suggests that adults recognise the capabilities of every child  from birth and that children are active in their own learning and development.  


Early Childhood Ireland: Reggio Children International Partner

As the Reggio Children international partner, Early Childhood Ireland aims to support the identity and the work of Reggio Children and the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre:

  • Giving visibility to and sharing learning of the approach to early childhood care and education in the infant toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia on our web site.
  • Distributing Reggio Children publications, with discounts for Early Childhood Ireland members.
  • Promoting “Rechild” the Reggio Children Newsletter to the ECCE sector in Ireland (subscribe directly from the Reggio Emilia website)
  • Coordinating international study visits to Reggio Emilia.
  • Facilitating workshops to reflect on the approach to early childhood care and education in Reggio Emilia.
  • Working in collaboration with ReCreate to offer our members discounts to access open ended materials to enhance creativity in their services. See for further information.

The Hundred Languages of Children

The theory of the Hundred Languages of Children, as proposed by Reggio Emilia educators offers a way of seeing children as having many, many ways of expressing themselves (not only in words, but also in movement, through art,  in play, in looks and gestures). The beauty and aesthetics of the infant toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia is renowned worldwide.

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Reggio Approach: Environments

“Space has to be a sort of aquarium that mirrors the ideas, values, attitudes and culture of the people who live within it” – Loris Malaguzzi.

Indoor Environments:

In Reggio Emilia the infant toddler centres and preschools are referred to as the third teacher, this offers an awareness of the value placed on providing beautiful rich environments for children and staff which reflects the values, ideas and culture of those who inhabit them. In speaking about the Reggio Approach to childcare, Loris Malaguzzi highlights the rights of the child to a quality environment, the right to contribute to the preparation of the environment, to give visibility to their interests, families and communities within that environment, a welcoming place a place of “true creativity”.

The indoor environments in the infant toddler centres and preschool reflect their cultural context. In Italy the Piazza is the meeting place for markets, concerts, and family strolls the piazza is a central focal point for families and communities to socialize. In the infant toddler centres the piazza`s offer an environment for children to meet and interact.

Entrance Areas:

Entrance areas are welcoming offering beautiful displays which captivate and engage those who visit, have you considered your entrance area, what does it say to children, parents and visitors about the environment.

Do you wish to share pictures of your entrance area? Forward to


The teachers in the preschools of Reggio Emilia, noticed that some of the children spent a lot of time in the bathroom and toilet areas, they decided to conduct some research to find out what exactly the children were doing. The findings were remarkable! And not at all surprising….the children had identified the toilet area as a place where they could get away from it all….have a chat with friends, read a book, mess with the taps and play with water, the toilets were even a place for some physical activity such as volley ball over and under the toilet dividing walls . Having taken the time to follow the interests of the children all of the toilet areas in the infant toddler centres offer interesting opportunities for children. In the bathroom areas children can read a book, play with water, sand play, science experiments such as sink and float, adding colour to water pipes, funnels, wash dolls, change their babies or apply their make-up, the opportunities are endless.

Reggio Approach: Exploring Light and Shadow

The following are the words used by children in the preschools of Reggio Emilia to “highlight and hold onto their mental images and explorations embodied the meaning, the sense, the metaphors they constructed in interpreting light and its variations. Image and imagination become words”.


Striped light Swinging light Shady light Light that flies
Light in rays Uproar of light Infinite light Lights mating
Cold light Light of the air Light that chases Meeting each other
Warm light Spider web light Alive light Crashing into each other


Reggio Children (2008) Children, Art, Artists; the expressive languages of children, the artistic language of Alberto Burri.


Light and shadow:

In Reggio Approach to Childcare light is described as “one of the great emotive components of our perception. Feelings of eurphoria or lethargy, panic or cheerfulness, for example, are closely linked to the quantity and quality of light, and the plasticity and richness of an illuminated space depend on the modulation of the light”.

Light provides visibility, highlights the passage of time and supports the aesthetic image. The value given to all light sources, natural and artificial. Light and shadow enhance and provoke children’s thinking.  Children and adults explore the multiple possibilities, variations, colours, intensities of light. Through their interaction with and manipulation of light children together with adults move to new levels of exploring, thinking and discovery.


Natural Light:

There is considerable thought and consideration given to ensuring that each area has as much natural light as possible, windows from ceiling to floor or glass patio doors invite light into the environments and also create a connection to the outdoors.

Natural light is also enhanced by hanging reflective or translucent objects to catch the light, creating rainbows, shapes and shades of beautiful colour. (mirrors, glass, CD`s, crystals, disco balls, painted windows, coloured paper collage).


Overhead projectors and screens:

Drawings can be projected onto the wall or screen.

Children make shadow puppets by cutting out shapes attaching to a stick placing on the overhead projector, this is followed by a puppet show telling the stories of the puppets.

Different objects are placed on the overhead to explore shape and the transformation of the object through the medium of light.


Light Boxes:

Children examine materials and investigate what happens with they are illuminated by light.

Light tables are covered in plastic and children paint or draw.

Light tables can be used for both dry and wet mixing, see the videos below.



The use of different coloured bulbs, different types of lights, fairy lights, spot lights, lamps, lights in corners, dark spaces, no light, fibre optic light. Lights placed on the floor, ceiling walls, underneath, above, over, under all transform and offer new ways of seeing old things, making the invisible visible in many cases.

Video clips from Reggio:


Reggio Approach: Documentation, Transforming our Perspective

A video which explains the Reggio Approach to childcare and in particular, documentation and the value of pedagogical documentation.


Documentation: Transforming Our Perspective from Melissa Rivard on Vimeo.

Reggio Approach: The Loris Malaguzzi International Centre

The Loris Malaguzzi Centre is a dedicated meeting place where professional development and research intersect for people in Reggio Emilia, Italy and the world who wish to innovate education and culture.

Below is an article about the Reggio Approach and the Loris Malaguzzi Centre by Carla Rinaldi, President of Reggio Children:

The Loris Malaguzzi Centre, is a dedicated meeting place where professional development and research intersect for people in Reggio Emilia, Italy and the world who wish to innovate education and culture. 
In 1998 the Municipality of Reggio Emilia purchased the “Locatelli” cheese warehouses so they could become both home to the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre and at the same time a symbol of urban renewal in this northern area of the city where the first industrial area was located.The Loris Malaguzzi Centre was opened in February 2006. It was created to give greater value to a strong and distinctive characteristic of Reggio Emilia; the ability to lend listening, visibility and support to the rights and requests of children, young people, families and teachers. The Centre is a dedicated meeting place where professional development and research intersect for people in Reggio Emilia, Italy and the world who wish to innovate education and culture. Although not yet completed it is an open place so that its potential can be appreciated; open to all ages, to ideas, different cultures, to hope and imagination. A place of the possible, both necessary and useful for the concept of a city ascribing value to change. In November 2007 the second phase of renovation work began. This will see the building’s completion with a preschool, the first two years of elementary school and a reception area with restaurant and hospitality facilities.
A place of places taking inspiration from the Reggio educational experience but looking to the future and giving definition to the international and multicultural dimensions existing since its inception.
Centre – as Loris Malaguzzi defined it in his talk at the Kohl Foundation – port, place for exchange, for ships to anchor in the evening and take provisions. But above all a place where they come to tell stories and listen, for through narrating and listening we change and we grow.
The Centre therefore is a place of listening just as our schools are first and foremost places of listening.
That is why the Centre takes the relativity of points of view, of dialogue and therefore of research as its primary value.
The  Loris Malaguzzi Centre: Its relevance to the international visitors. 
The Loris Malaguzzi Centre is the hub for all activity, interactions , exchanges, research, innovation, culture and dialogue, open to all. When visiting the infant toddler centres of Reggio Emilia over the years as  Reggio Children International Network Partners, Early Childhood Ireland have witnessed the development of the Loris Malaguzzi centre. The aim of this beautiful place which is promoted jointly by Reggio Children and the Istituzione of the Municipal Infant -toddler Centres and Preschools of Reggio Emilia is to offer opportunities for creativity to children, youth and families and the international educational community.
The Loris Malaguzzi International Centre is the home of the new Urban Ateliers, The Ray of Light atelier, the Marco Gerra exhibition Hall, The Reggio Children Bookshop, The documentation and educational Research Centre, the Annamaria and Marco Gerra Auditorium, Pause- the Atelier of Tastes ( cafeteria, restaurant, grocery shop).


A video on the Loris Malaguzzi Centre and the Reggio Approach to Childcare: 



A video in the atelier of light in the Loris Malaguzzi Centre:



For further information:

Centro Internazionale Loris Malaguzzi

Via Bligny 1/a 42124 Reggio Emilia

Reggio Children’s International Network

“It would be extremely interesting to see a map of the network extended to the whole world, and those who belong to it feel connected to something that is now more symbolic than merely geographical. It is a new cultural geography, made up of people who have decided to share values. A geography that goes beyond the traditional geographical borders and creates a network among people who have common sensibilities and ideals.”
Carla Rinaldi


The Reggio Children’s International Network is a formal network which represents the various points of reference of Reggio Children in many countries worldwide.

The Network can be described as a transnational project of the educating community of Reggio Emilia that maintains the international dialogue and shared responsibility, with the aim to support the identity and work of Reggio Children and of the Loris Malaguzzi International Center.

Each country has its own unique identity and cultural context the International Network undertakes to support the maintenance of the centrality of the Reggio Emilia Approach as an inspiration within its own social, cultural, political and historical contexts.

Network members meet for annual professional development, where they network and exchange experiences with partners from the five continents.


For a presentation from the Reggio Children International partner, Red Solar Peru Click here.

For a presentation from the Reggio Children International partner, Red Solar Brazil Click here.

For a presentation from the Reggio Children International partner, South Africa Click here.

For a presentation from the Reggio Children International partner, Scotland Click here.

For a presentation from the Reggio Children International partner, New Zealand Click here.



Contact Details for Reggio Children International Partners:




  North American Reggio Emilia Alliance

Reggio Emilia Institutet

Angela Ferrario
USA liaison for study groups
to Reggio Emilia

Lella Gandini

USA liaison for disseminating
the Reggio Emilia Approach

Reggio Emilia Australia
Information Exchange


Det Danske Reggio Emilia Netwærk
Karin Eskesen


Latin American Association for disseminating the Reggio Emilia Approach to education

KCCT – Korea Center for Children and Teachers
Moonja Oh


Elisse Heinimaa

Argentina and Paraguay
Maria Victoria Alfieri
Ana Tomasini

Reggio Emilia India Foundation


Gudrún Alda Hardardóttir
Kristìn Dyrfjörd
University of Akureyri

Marilia Dourado


Mirrors Way – Israel-Reggio Journey
Naama Zoran


Kari Carlsen
Institut for forming og formgiving
Høgskolen i Telemark

Tulia Gómez

New Zealand

The Reggio Foundation/
RE Provocations
Sue Stevely-Cole


Emy Denis

New Zealand
REANZ (Reggio Emilia Aotearoa
New Zealand)



Dialog Reggio Austria
Barbara Bagic-Moser

Forum Reggio Paedagogik

Ana Maria Barrantes


EtonHouse Singapore
Heather Conroy



Dialog Reggio
Jennifer Kerstan
Tassilo Knauf

Chile, Costa Rica,

Ecuador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela

South Africa
Africa Reggio Emilia Alliance
St Mary’s
Des Hugo
Tessa Browne

Stichting Pedagogiekontwikkeling
voor het jonge kind 0-7
Margot Meeuwig


United Kingdom
SightLines Initiative
Robin Duckett


Early Learning Associates
Pat Wharton


Republic of Ireland
Early Childhood Ireland
Rita Melia

DIIP – Design iInfancia Innovación Proyectos
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