The Population of Reggio Emiliat
The estimated population of Reggio Emilia is 170,000. More than 100 nationalities of immigrant minorities that have moved to northern Italy live in this town, enjoying, mostly, good and stable economic conditions. These minorities are from Asia, Africa, and Europe; the Arab community forms a noteworthy percentage. This cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity is considered a positive factor by the administrators of Reggio Emilia, especially that the element of diversity has been co-opted and applied in projects relating to children; in particular, various components that are indigenous to these diverse cultures have been appropriated as a high-leverage strategy for promoting the agenda of an equitable and sustainable pedagogical milieu. No wonder, then, that one of the names given to Reggio Emilia is “The Kind City.”.
The Architecture and City Planning of Reggio Emilia
The Reggio Emilia conjoins two architectural styles: the historical and the modern. The section of the town where the historical style dominates is the most lively and crowded of its quarters. No doubt, visitors from the Arab world are likely to feel at home; houses are adjoining and alleys are narrow, leading to the town’s piazzas. Cafes surround these piazzas, which during holidays and two times a week, turn into bustling local markets. By its very structural and urban nature, such an architecture is conducive to dialogue and is generative of a specific collective education. The neighbor sees the children of his neighbors, parents see their children play in the narrow alleys, their parental eyes watching them from the windows overlooking these alleys. It is no surprise that this architectural intentionality is incorporated into the schools in the municipality of Reggio: classes are not separated only by cement walls; instead, they are quite often separated by thick glass panes that suggest proximity and connectivity. Inside these spacious classrooms, we find tables for developing group projects as well as individual projects. Moreover, we see a piazza-like entrance in every school, decorated by indoor plants. The educators are transferring their city into their schools, so that the outdoors becomes the indoors and vice versa. It is not far-fetched to state that one of the most beautiful projects executed by the children of Reggio Emilia schools takes its main theme from the city itself. Every child was asked to draw a picture of the vicinity of his/her house; the children were then taken on a group trip to confirm what they drew and to add what they had overlooked. These drawings provided the material for the publication of a guide to the various quarters of the city.
The Municipal Infant-toddler Centersand Preschools of Reggio Emilia
The Community-Early Childhood Council
Organizational Aspects of the Infant-toddler Centersand Preschools
Loris Malaguzzi International Center
Reggio Children – Loris Malaguzzi Center Foundation
The Atelier as Aesthetics/poetics