Semester of Graduation

Spring 2021


Master of Education (MEd)



Document Type



The Reggio Emilia philosophy has been guiding early childhood practices since its development by Loris Malaguzzi in 1963. Originating in Reggio Emilia, Italy, this approach to early childhood education emphasizes building and nurturing relationships between the adult and child. This philosophy is guided by eight core tenets – The Environment as the Third Teacher, 100 Languages of Children, Long-Term Projects, Teacher-Researcher, Image of the Child, Negotiated Learning, Documentation, and Social Relations. Research shows that young children’s engagement with the Reggio Emilia approach benefits their academic, cognitive, and social-emotional development. However, there is currently no school accreditation or teacher certification program associated with the Reggio Emilia approach in the United States. The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics of the Reggio Emilia philosophy as determined by teachers who follow this approach in their practice. The leading research questions of this study are: How do Reggio practitioners define the Reggio-inspired approach? and What does the Reggio Emilia approach look like in practice? 75 practicing teachers who self-identify as Reggio-inspired educators consented to participating in this study. The participating teachers identified seven characteristics of the Reggio Emilia philosophy – Child-centered, Learning from the Environment, Documentation, Inquiry, Observation, Collaboration, and Community. Additionally, materials, artifacts, and teacher facilitation practices were identified for each tenet of the Reggio approach. The findings of this study can contribute to the creation of professional development resources and trainings on adopting the Reggio-inspired approach.

Committee Chair

DiCarlo, Cynthia