Approaches from Europe:
Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
and Reggio Emilia are three progressive approaches to early childhood
education that appear to be growing in influence in North America
and to have many points in common. This article provides a brief
comparative introduction and highlights several key areas of similarity
and contrast. All three approaches represent an explicit idealism
and turn away from war and violence toward peace and reconstruction.
They are built on coherent visions of how to improve human society
by helping children realize their full potential as intelligent,
creative, whole persons. In each approach, children are viewed as
active authors of their own development, strongly influenced by
natural, dynamic, self-righting forces within themselves, opening
the way toward growth and learning. Teachers depend for their work
with children on carefully prepared, aesthetically pleasing environments
that serve as a pedagogical tool and provide strong messages about
the curriculum and about respect for children. Partnering with parents
is highly valued in all three approaches, and children are evaluated
by means other than traditional tests and grades. However, there
are also many areas of difference, some at the level of principle
and others at the level of strategy. Underlying the three approaches
are variant views of the nature of young children's needs, interests,
and modes of learning that lead to contrasts in the ways that teachers
interact with children in the classroom, frame and structure learning
experiences for children, and follow the children through observation/documentation.
The article ends with discussion of the methods that researchers
apply to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
Europe has been a rich
source of many influential educational ideas. In elementary and
early childhood education, three of the best-known approaches with
European origins are Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia. All
three are seen as strong educational alternatives to traditional
education and as sources of inspiration for progressive educational
reform. Contemporary interest in these approaches leads the public
and the professional community to ask many questions about their
parallels and contrasts. Many observers have noticed common themes
and elements in their views of children and their development. What
exactly are their respective historical origins and foundational
philosophical premises and concepts about child development and
learning? How do they compare with respect to organizational structures
for decision making and school environments, curriculum, instructional
methods, observation/assessment, and teacher preparation—the
elements of curriculum models (Goffin, 2000)?
This article provides an overview and comparison of the three approaches,
to introduce them to readers and highlight key points of similarity
and difference. Of course, in actuality, great variation can be
expected to exist in how any educational model or approach plays
out in application. Schools and classrooms do not necessarily look
alike just because they derive from the same philosophy, and this
article can at most describe only the general tendencies that may
not correctly describe particular schools or programs. To understand
a specific institution, one must observe its environments and teacher-child
interactions, read its documents, interview staff, and talk to past
and present parents and children. Because this article addresses
the general level, it speaks primarily to underlying goals and principles—"best
practice" from three points of view—and provides resources
pointing the reader toward additional information.
All three approaches
represent an explicit idealism and turn away from violence, toward
peace and reconstruction. They are built on coherent visions of
how to improve human society by helping children realize their full
potential as intelligent, creative, whole persons. School communities
struggle continually to keep their guiding principles alive in current,
meaningful ways and not to let them degrade into slogans.
Waldorf education was founded by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), a maverick
Austrian scientist and philosophical thinker. His interests intersected
spiritual and scientific planes: he wanted to integrate these two forms
of understanding and experience, and he founded "Anthroposophy"
("knowledge of the true nature of the human being" [Kotzsch, 1990]). In
1919, in the wake of the devastation of World War I, Steiner was
invited by Emil Mott to found a school for the employees of the
Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. The vision was
that this new kind of school would educate human beings able to create
a just and peaceful society. It defied the conventions of the time in
being coeducational (bringing boys and girls together in the
classroom), open to children of any background (without entrance
examination), comprehensive (from preschool level through high school),
and independent of external control (a self-governing administrative
unit). [Author's Note—6/27/05: The original Waldorf school in Stuttgart
began with first grade, not preschool. The first Waldorf early
childhood program (kindergarten) was started later in another city.]
The Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN)
provides information and resources for interested early childhood
educators and parents ( http://www.waldorfearlychildhood.org ). Today, Waldorf education continues to be a
well-defined model with every school administratively independent
(Barnes, 1991; Oppenheimer, 1999). There are now more than 800 Waldorf
schools in over 40 countries, with 140 schools affiliated with the
Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). Bob Lathe
and Nancy Parsons (http://www.bobnancy.com/)
maintain a list of Waldorf schools affiliated with AWSNA, and about
40 charter schools, parent-initiative schools, and other schools
not affiliated but philosophically close to AWSNA. The Web sites http://www.awsna.org and http://www.waldorflibrary.org contain information about philosophy, publication resources, and
alumni. There are 10 Steiner teacher-training institutes in the
United States and 2 in Canada (see http://www.bobnancy.com/).
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was the brilliant figure who was Italy's
first woman physician. After innovating a methodology for working
with children with disabilities, she started her Casa dei Bambini
(Children's House) in 1907 for children ages 4 through 7 in a housing
project in the slums of Rome. Her movement spread to other countries,
especially after the Fascist regime denounced Montessori methods
of education and she left Italy. In the United States, there was
strong but brief interest from 1910 to 1920, but then Montessori
education fell out of favor (Torrence & Chattin-McNichols, 2000).
During this time, however, the movement flourished in Europe and
India. In the 1950s, American educator Nancy Rambush led a movement
of renewal, and Montessori education spread as an independent school
movement (Loeffler, 1992). There are probably 5,000 or more schools
calling themselves "Montessori" in the United States (Ruenzel,
1997). Of these, about 20% are affiliated with the two major accrediting
organizations. Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) (http://www.montessori-ami.org/ami.htm)
promotes the study, application, and propagation of Montessori's
(original) ideas and principles for education and human development
[Editor's note (8-23-05): This url has changed: http://www.montessori-ami.org]. The American Montessori Society (AMS) (http://www.amshq.org)
supports Montessori education in the context of contemporary American
culture (Loeffler, 1992). The Web sites provide information about
program history, philosophy, accreditation, teacher training, and
published resources. The AMI Web site provides a map that gives
a good picture of the Montessori movement worldwide. The AMS Web
site provides information about their teacher research network and
a set of position papers on such topics as learning and assessment,
inclusion, infant programs, math and music education, multiage grouping,
and holistic peace education. There are many Montessori teacher-training
programs, over 50 of which are affiliated with AMS and 15 with AMI
(see the Web site of the North American Montessori Teachers' Association
In the 1960s, furthermore, American parents began to advocate for
Montessori education in public schools, leading to hundreds of Montessori
programs (often magnet programs) at the preschool and elementary
levels, and now increasingly at the middle and high school levels
(Chattin-McNichols, 1992b). All of the major Montessori organizations
in the United States have endorsed a position paper on "Essential
Elements of Successful Public Montessori Schools" (http://www.amshq.org/schools_public.htm).
Montessori education at the infant-toddler level is also growing
Reggio Emilia is a city in northern Italy where educators, parents,
and children began working together after World War II to reconstruct
society and build an exemplary system of municipal preschools and
infant-toddler centers (New, 1993). Under leadership of the visionary
founding director, Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994), the system evolved
from a parent cooperative movement into a city-run system that exercises
a leadership role in Italy and throughout Europe, and now increasingly
in Asia, Australia, North America, and other parts of the world
(New, 2000). The Reggio Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, is known
as a source of innovation and reflection (Dahlberg, Moss, &
Pence, 1999). Programs in Reggio are family centered and serve children
at infant-toddler and preschool levels (Edwards, Gandini, &
Forman, 1998; Gandini & Edwards, 2001), with first priority
given to children with disabilities or social service needs. Reggio
Emilia is not a formal model like Waldorf and Montessori, with defined
methods, teacher certification standards, and accreditation processes.
Instead, educators in Reggio Emilia speak of their evolving "experience"
and see themselves as a provocation and reference point, a way of
engaging in dialogue starting from a strong and rich vision of the
child (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 1998; Katz & Cesarone,
1994; New, 2000). Reggio Children/USA is the North American arm
of Reggio Children S.r.l., the Italian organization set up in 1994
to protect and enrich the educational theory and practice accumulated
in the Reggio Emilia municipal infant/toddler and preschool centers.
The ECAP/ITG Web site has an extensive Reggio link (http://ceep.crc.uiuc.edu/poptopics/reggio/reginfo.html),
presenting information about Reggio Children/USA and a list of self-nominated
schools in North America with programs based on or inspired by the
approach used in Reggio Emilia. The Merrill-Palmer Institute of
Wayne State University maintains the Web site of Reggio Resources,
publishes the periodical Innovations in Early Education: The
International Reggio Exchange, and updates study tour, conference,
and contact information (http://www.mpi.wayne.edu/).
Child Development Theory and Curriculum
All three approaches
view children as active authors of their own development, strongly
influenced by natural, dynamic, self-righting forces within themselves,
opening the way toward growth and learning.
Rudolf Steiner believed in a unity of spirit, soul, and body, and
that good education restores the balance between thinking, willing,
and feeling (Steiner, 1995). His theory of child development elaborated
three cycles of seven-year stages, each with its own distinctive
needs for learning—an ascending spiral of knowledge. Before
age 7, nursery and kindergarten children learn through imitation and doing (Schwartz, 1996). Imaginary play is considered the most
important "work" of the young child and the activity through
which the child grows physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
The educational focus is on bodily exploration, constructive and
creative play, and oral (never written) language, story, and song.
On a given morning, children might do such things as sing songs,
paint with watercolors, color with beeswax crayons, cook, hear a
story told with puppets, go on a nature walk, work in the garden,
build with wooden blocks, or make houses using play stands and cloth.
Through these activities, they become deeply engaged and develop
powers of concentration and motivation. A significant portion of
the school morning is devoted to uninterrupted imaginary play. Recognition
of the importance of "rhythm" and of balance of energetic
and restful play leads teachers to follow a cyclical schedule of
yearly, weekly, and daily activities, including festivals and foods.
From 7 to 14 years, children stay with the same teacher and classroom
group, and they become a very close-knit group as they explore the
world through conscious imagination or "feeling
intelligence" (Finser, 1995). The teacher presents a curriculum
that has structure and sequence but that relies on lessons unaccompanied
by textbooks. This approach fosters an integrated, multisensorial
approach to learning and expression, with more emphasis on oral
listening and memory than is found in other early childhood models
for the primary years. For example, the teacher might introduce
an arithmetical operation by telling a story where the numbers are
characters in a drama or render the history of the Norman Conquest
as an exciting tale. Children listen as the teacher presents the
material, and they integrate what they have learned as they design
and illustrate with care and beauty their own lesson books. In essence,
they compose their own texts, which preserve for them what they
have learned in their own personal format, documents and treasures
of their learning experiences. Children study literature, folktales,
and mythology; rhythmic musical movement (eurythmy); practical crafts;
natural sciences; foreign languages; art; and music. Out of doors,
they may construct play shelters with boards, branches, and other
materials. During the high school years, the rational, abstract
power of the intellect
emerges, and adolescents focus on ethics, social responsibility, and
mastery of complex and rigorous subject matter, with specialized
teachers. Images of Waldorf education grades K-12 in four different
schools can be found in the video "Waldorf Education: A Vision of
Wholeness" (Hagens Recording Studio, 1996).
Maria Montessori's approach reflects a theoretical kinship with
the European progressive educational philosophers Rousseau, Pestalozzi,
Seguin, and Itard. She believed in children's natural intelligence,
involving from the start rational, empirical, and spiritual aspects.
She saw development as a series of six-year periods, like repeating
triangular waves, each with its own particular sensitivities. A constructivist, she
posited an active child, eager for knowledge and prepared to learn,
seeking perfection through reality, play, and work. In Montessori
education, children usually are grouped into multiage classrooms
spanning three years, in order to promote adult-child continuity and
close peer relationships. Birth to age 3 is the time of the
"unconscious absorbent mind," whereas age 3 to 6 is the time of the
"conscious absorbent mind" (Montessori & Chattin-McNichols, 1995).
In both, the child seeks sensory input, regulation of movement, order,
and freedom to choose activities and explore them deeply without
interruption in a carefully prepared (serene and beautiful) environment
that helps the child choose well (Greenwald, 1999). During the
infant-toddler (birth to age 3) and primary (age 3 to 6) years,
classrooms usually have more than one teacher. To introduce new
curriculum, teachers present demonstration lessons at the point when an
individual or small group indicates readiness to advance in the
sequence of self-correcting materials, in the areas of practical life,
sensorial, mathematics, language, science and geography, and art and
music (Humphryes, 1998). Montessori designed famous materials still in
use; photos of some of these can be found at
http://www.montessori-ami.org/ami.htm [Editor's note (8-23-05): This
url has changed: http://www.montessori-ami.org].
In addition, other classroom materials are created or put together
by individual teachers or groups as they carefully consider their
classroom observations. The Montessori curriculum is highly individualized
but with scope and sequence and clearcut domains. The individualization
results in some young children mastering reading and writing before
age 6 following Montessori "writing to read" methods.
Preschool children in full-day programs usually address the Montessori
curriculum in the morning and typical child-care play including
fantasy play in the afternoon. From age 6 to 12, children are expected
to explore a wider world and develop rational problem solving, cooperative
social relations, imagination and aesthetics, and complex cultural
knowledge. From 12 to 18, children reconstruct themselves as social
beings and are humanistic explorers, real-world problem solvers,
and rational seekers of justice.
Loris Malaguzzi's thinking reflects a social constructivism drawing
from Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner, and others. Focusing on the
infant and preschool years only, Malaguzzi rejected Piaget's stage
notions as too limiting. He drew a powerful image of the child,
social from birth, full of intelligence, curiosity, and wonder.
His vision of an "education based on relationships" focuses
on each child in relation to others and seeks to activate and support
children's reciprocal relationships with other children, family,
teachers, society, and the environment (Malaguzzi, 1993). This resourceful
child generates changes in the systems in which he or she is involved
and becomes a "producer of culture, values, and rights"
(Rinaldi, 2001a, p. 51). Teachers seek to hold before them this
powerful image as they support children in exploring and investigating.
Children grow in competence to symbolically represent ideas and
feelings through any of their "hundreds of languages"
(expressive, communicative, and cognitive)—words, movement,
drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic
play, music, to name a few—that they systemically explore and
combine. Teachers follow the children's interests and do not provide
focused instruction in reading and writing; however, they foster
emergent literacy as children record and manipulate their ideas
and communicate with others. The curriculum has purposive progression
but not scope and sequence. Teaching and learning are negotiated,
emergent processes between adults and children, involving generous
time and in-depth revisiting and reviewing. Close, multiyear adult-child
and peer relations are fostered, usually through a looping organization.
Long-term, open-ended projects are important vehicles for collaborative
work, in classroom environments carefully prepared to offer complexity,
beauty, and a sense of well-being and ease. The Reggio Emilia approach
was developed within and for the municipal child care and education
programs serving children under 6 and therefore is not an elementary
school approach. However, progressive educators in the United States
have taken useful insights from Reggio Emilia into primary education
(especially with respect to project work and observation/documentation).
Visual images of the preschool environments in Reggio Emilia are
presented in Patricia Tarr's (2001) online article (http://www.designshare.com/Research/Tarr/Aesthetic_Codes_1.htm)
and in the slide set Open Window (Reggio Children S.r.l.,
n.d.). Images of environments and learning experiences at L'Atelier,
a preschool in Miami, Florida, consulting with Reggio Emilia educators,
can be found at http://www.latelier.org (link to Pictures).
Roles of the Teacher
The teachers in these
approaches share in common the goals to be nurturers, partners,
and guides to children. They depend on carefully prepared, aesthetically
pleasing environments as a pedagogical tool, providing strong messages
about the curriculum and respect for children. Partnering with parents
is highly valued in all three approaches. However, their contrasting
views of the nature of children and of learning lead them to act
out differing roles in the classroom. Coulter (1991) presents an
interesting argument that Montessori and Waldorf education are like
"reverse symmetries," born out of their founders' responsive
solutions to historical contexts presenting differing issues to
children. Of course, in all three approaches, teacher roles with
children change with age; adults are more nurturing with younger
The Waldorf teacher generally plays a performance role in
the classroom as he or she leads or models many whole-group activities
involving integration of the academic and the artistic with an explicit
spirituality. The teacher is also a didactic moral leader, seeking
to provide an intimate classroom atmosphere permeated with a sense
of harmony and full of themes about caring for the community
and for the natural and living worlds. The teacher needs a classroom
in which children can bring together their thinking, feeling, and
willing, no matter what their personalities and temperaments (Durach,
1998). Color and the use of natural materials and carefully chosen
props (such as open-ended, handmade toys and dolls with minimal
detail to encourage the imagination) are intrinsic to the uncluttered,
warm and homelike, aesthetically pleasing Waldorf environments (Schwartz,
1996). Examples of Waldorf materials can be seen at the Web site http://www.NaturalPlay.com/index.shtml.
Teachers seek to encourage the child's natural sense of wonder,
belief in goodness, and love of beauty. They are more reticent at
the early childhood levels of Waldorf and more directive and didactic
in the elementary and secondary classrooms. In the kindergarten
classroom, teachers seek to be subtle in their guidance, yet always
aware of everything going on in the room (Schwartz, 1996).
The Montessori teacher plays the role of unobtrusive director
in the classroom as children individually or in small groups engage
in self-directed activity. Based on detailed, systematic observation
of the children, the teacher seeks to provide an atmosphere of productive
calm as children smoothly move along in their learning, alternating
between long periods of intense concentration interspersed with
brief moments of recovery/reorganization (Oppenheimer, 1999). The
teacher's goal is to help and encourage the children, allowing them
to develop confidence and inner discipline so that there is less
and less need to intervene as the child develops. Interrupting children
when engaged in purposeful activity interferes with their momentum,
interest, and inner workings of thought (Greenwald, 1999). During
the early childhood years, the teacher brings the young child into
close contact with reality through sensory investigation and practical
activity and then relies on the child's unfolding inner program
of curiosities and sensitivities to ensure that the child will learn
what he or she needs. With the younger students at each level, the
teacher is more active, demonstrating the use of materials and presenting
activities based on an assessment of the child's requirements. Montessori
classrooms provide carefully prepared, orderly, pleasing environments
and materials where children are free to respond to their natural
tendency to work individually or in small groups (see http://www.montessori-namta.org or the videotapes and slide sets for parent education from the North
American Montessori Teachers' Association). Books, toys, and materials
are carefully chosen to favor refined quality and natural materials.
Books present images of the real world in a beautiful way, waiting
to introduce fantasy until age 5 or 6 (consult catalogs at http://www.michaelolaf.net).
The children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to
their individual capabilities. The school community as a whole,
including the parents, work together to open the children to the
integration of body, mind, emotions, and spirit that is the basis
of holistic peace education (accepting and relating harmoniously
with all human beings and the natural environment).
The Reggio teacher plays a role of artful balancing between
engagement and attention (Edwards, 1998). Based on careful and sensitive
listening, observation/documentation, and reflection with other
adults, the teachers serve as resources and guides to the children
(Rinaldi, 2001b). Classroom teachers work in pairs, and collaboration
and mentoring between personnel throughout the system are strongly
promoted. Additional teachers especially trained in the visual arts
work with teachers and children to encourage expression through
different media and symbol systems. Teachers organize environments
rich in possibilities and provocations that invite the children
to undertake extended exploration and problem solving, often in
small groups, where cooperation and disputation mingle pleasurably.
Teachers also act as recorders (documenters) for the children, helping
them trace and revisit their words and actions and thereby making
the learning visible (Project Zero & Reggio Children, Italy,
2001). They provide instruction in tool and material use as needed,
help find materials and resources, and scaffold children's learning—sometimes
entering "inside the group of children," sometimes remaining
attentively "on the outside." (For a detailed and illustrated
description of a "castle project," go to http://child.etsu.edu/center/training/reggio/reggio.htm [ECRP Editor's note (11-13-03): This URL is no longer active.) The
physical environment (the "amiable" school) receives much
attention and supports exchange and relationships through physical
qualities of transparency, reflectiveness, openness, harmony, softness,
and light (Ceppi & Zini, 1998; Gandini, 1993). A classroom atmosphere
of playfulness and joy pervades. The school and surrounding
community welcome the children into their culture and toward democratic
Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
In all three approaches,
children are assessed by means other than traditional tests and
grades. Instead, parents receive extensive descriptive information
about their children's daily life and progress and share in culminating
productions or performances. Portfolios or other products of children's
individual and group work may be displayed and sent home at key
intervals and transitions. In Reggio Emilia and other cities in
Italy (Gandini & Edwards, 2001), teachers prepare diarios,
or memory books, to trace the experience of children under 3 through
the infant-toddler years. Process research (formative evaluation)
is central to program improvement and quality control in these
approaches. A strong example is the Reggio Emilia strategy of
documentation (Katz & Chard, 1996; Oken-Wright, 2001),
a cooperative practice that helps teachers listen to and see the
children with whom they work, thus guiding ongoing curriculum
decisions and fostering teacher professional development through
collaborative study and reflection (Gandini & Goldhaber, 2001).
Documentation is also vital for systematically following and studying
the ways that groups of children develop ideas, theories, and
understandings (Project Zero & Reggio Children, Italy, 2001).
Child outcome research is not intrinsic to the way educators work
in any of these three approaches. For Waldorf, testimonials of
parents and graduates are gathered as examples and evidence of
effectiveness (e.g., Learning to Learn
from AWSNA, n.d.), and creativity also has been studied (Ogletree,
1996). Administrators in Reggio Emilia have used parent interviews and
questionnaires to gather information about their programs (see
Fontanesi, Gialdini, & Soncini, 1998). Findings from formal exit
interviews with parents at the Model Early Learning Center in
Washington, DC, are reported in Lewin (1998, pp. 354-356). However,
Reggio and Reggio-inspired educators consider pedagogical documentation
to be an instrument for "reflection and democracy" not assessment
(Dahlberg, Moss, & Pence, 1999; Gandini & Goldhaber, 2001;
Oken-Wright, 2001; Rinaldi, 2001b).
Yet as the three approaches increasingly interact with the world of
public school education, dialogue is leading to greater focus on
authentic and valid ways of conducting assessment and evaluation. The
American Montessori Association issued a position paper on "Learning
and Assessment" that recommends that assessment procedures in American
classrooms move toward formats (such as portfolios, presentations,
multimedia projects) that more authentically gauge children's ability
to interrelate ideas, think critically, and use information
Montessori education has been the most friendly of the three approaches
to empirical research on child learning outcomes. Many studies
have demonstrated the effectiveness of Montessori methods and
provided insight into children's gains with respect to reading
and literacy, mathematics, and motivation (e.g., Chattin-McNichols,
1992a; Loeffler, 1992; Miller & Bizzell, 1983; Takacs, 1993;
Haines, 2000; see summary at http://www.montessori-namta.org/geninfo/rschsum.html [ECRP Editor's note (05-19-04): This URL has changed: http://www.montessori-namta.org/NAMTA/geninfo/rschsum.html]).
The American Montessori Association sponsors a Teachers' Research
Network to promote teacher reflection on classroom practice (http://www.amshq.org).
Their activities include training teachers in working with research
mentors, interpreting research, framing questions, using qualitative
and quantitative methods, and conducting joint comparative studies
between types of schools. The organization also sponsors an annual
dissertation award to promote research on Montessori education.
The research community distinguishes between types of research
based on the purposes for which it is conducted. The process research
favored by educators in Reggio Emilia promotes reflective practice
and program improvement through formative methods that help educators
to better understand the context of their problems, assess the
needs and responses of their stakeholders, and analyze "what
works and what does not" on an ongoing basis. However, although
such research assists educators while programs are ongoing to
refine and improve their work, it does not allow outside audiences
to understand outcomes and measure impacts over time. While we
have some research on Montessori education, some policy makers
continue to ask for new studies of Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools
that would measure lasting child-related outcomes and evaluate
program quality based on external criteria. As discussed above,
educators in dialogue with Reggio Emilia strongly question the
validity and usefulness of such research (Dahlberg, Moss, &
Pence, 1999). Nevertheless, educational researchers today are
much more sophisticated in designing studies involving a variety
of qualitative and quantitative methods, including interviews,
observations, focus groups, and surveys, as well as ethnographic
and narrative techniques, in addition to appropriate and innovative
testing and authentic child assessment. These methods could be
used to study classrooms, children, and families in ways that
would supply a new kind and level of information to validate the
effectiveness of the approaches, analyze their specific and unique
strengths and weaknesses, and explain how and why children often
thrive in and parents support the three progressive educational
approaches that we have described.
acknowledges the support of the University of Nebraska Institute
for Agricultural and Natural Resources, Journal Series 13466. This
paper is an extension of presentations comparing Montessori and
Reggio Emilia approaches, co-authored with Paul Epstein at conferences
of the American Montessori Society and the National Association
for the Education of Young Children, and with Carol Hiler at the
Kentucky Early Childhood Association. I thank them and other colleagues
who have taught me much about the approaches. I also received constructive
feedback at various stages from Deborah Greenwald, Debbie Lee Keenan,
Anna Perry, Alison Rogers, Lilian Katz, the anonymous reviewers,
and especially Mary Ellin Logue.
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Edwards is a professor of psychology and family and consumer sciences
at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where she teaches courses
in developmental psychology and early childhood education. Her most
recent research focuses on parents' cultural belief systems concerning
young children's development. She has also conducted quantitative
and qualitative research on children's social and moral development
and parent-child interaction in Mexico, Kenya, Haiti, Norway, Italy,
and the United States. In 1983, she was visiting professor of psychology
at the National Research Council in Rome, where she began studying
early childhood education in Italy; and in 1988, she was a fellow
at the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo, Norway. She is author
or editor of Promoting Social and Moral Development of Young
Children (1986); Children of Different Worlds: The Formation
of Social Behavior (1988); The Hundred Languages of Children:
The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education (1993);
The Hundred Languages of Children, 2nd Edition (1998); and
Bambini: The Italian Approach to Infant-Toddler Care (2001).
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68583-0801
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