State’s first Reggio Emilia Institute to be held at RIC Oct. 29-31

The Reggio Emilia Institute at Rhode Island College – “Learning, Connections, and Threads of Research” – will be held on campus Oct. 29-31. This is the first Reggio Emilia Institute in Rhode Island. The event is sponsored by the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development and the Early Childhood Education Program.

Fundamental principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach – observation, documentation, the role of the teacher, literacy, professional development, the arts, learning, and values – will be explored at the institute.

Featured speakers at the institute:

Lella Gandini, the U.S. liaison for the dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach. An accomplished educator, author and editor, she has written several children's books, and published articles on parenting, early education and related topics.

Karen M. Haigh, assistant professor of early childhood education at Columbia College, Chicago. Haigh was the former child development director for Chicago Commons, where she organized, led and inspired the Chicago Commons Reggio Exploration. In 2008 she collaborated on the book, “We Are All Explorers: Learning and Teaching with Reggio Principles in Urban Settings.” with Daniel and Sandra Scheinfeld.

Kristin Brizzolara, a consulting educator and artist. Brizzolara works closely with the inspiration of the Reggio approach in the Chicago schools, Columbia College, along with other public and private programs, to support teachers around materials, documentation, curriculum development and environment.

According to the website, the “Reggio Emilia approach to education is committed to the creation of a learning environment that will enhance and facilitate children's construction of his or her own powers of thinking through the combination of all the expressive, communicative and cognitive languages.”

Beginning with the Municipal Infant-Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, established decades ago, the project has gained international recognition, and become of a point of interest and research for teachers, teacher educators, researchers, administrators and others throughout the world.

The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) has as its tagline: “Envisioning a world where all children are honored and respected for their potential, capabilities, and humanity.”

The institute program will begin Thursday, Oct. 29, with registration and reception from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Keynotes on Thursday include Lella Gandini on “The Fundamental Values of the Reggio Emilia Approach” and Karen M. Haigh on “The Interpretation of the Fundamental Principles of Reggio Emilia within Chicago Area Programs.”

On Friday, Oct. 30, registration will begin at 8 a.m., with continental breakfast provided. Keynotes will include Gandini and Haigh on “Listening, Observation, Documentation and Interpretation: Constructing Meaningful and Respectful Learning Experiences” in the morning. In the afternoon, Haigh will present “The Role of the Teachers and Children as Partners in Learning and Research: Stories of Explorations and Inquiry.”

In addition, Gandini and Haigh will present “Literacy in Reggio Emilia and Chicago Programs for Young Children.” Discussions and breakout sessions will be held throughout the institute. Friday’s program will conclude at 4:30 p.m. Lunch is included in the cost of the Institute.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, the institute will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and continental breakfast. Gandini will provide the first keynote, “Professional Development in Reggio Emilia.” Haigh will address “Professional Development in the Schools for Young Children in the Chicago Area.” The institute will also include Kristin Brizzolara with a hands-on opportunity, “Experience with Exploration of a Material with Hands, Eyes, and Mind.”

There will also be a working lunch and panel discussion with Rhode Island educators on “Connecting the Values of Early Education in Reggio Emilia with the Fundamental Ideas of the Hundred Languages.” This will be followed by Gandini on “The Wonder of Learning: Paper” and Haigh on “Painting and Dance.” The institute will close at 3 p.m.

College credits and CEUs will be available. The Institute is open to all, including members of the college community, community members and interested educators. There are special rates for RIC students and a discount for North American Reggio Emilia Alliance members.

Registration will be accepted through September 14 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration form.

Please mail all registration forms with a check or purchase order (credit cards cannot be accepted) to Rhode Island College, Attn. Leslie Sevey, ELED Dept., 600 Mt. Pleasant Ave. Providence, RI 02908.

For further information, please contact, Mary Ellen McGuire-Schwartz at or Leslie Sevey at