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In 1990, three American scholars participated in an extraordinary research experience with Loris Malaguzzi and the educators of the Diana School in Reggio Emilia, Italy. They were studying “cooperation”— how preschool educators promoted collaboration and community in their classrooms and schools—and they used videotapes of classroom episodes to provoke teachers to reflect on the meanings suggested by the actions of themselves and others. In October 1990 the three traveled to Reggio Emilia and spent several days with the Italian educators.

The Diana School faculty viewed these encounters as powerful opportunities for their own professional development through the documentation process, rather than simply as passive participation in a research project. Loris Malaguzzi, founding director of the Reggio early education system, was a dazzling philosophical intellect, and at the same time such a grounded, empathic, and perceptive person, that even today the force of his presence and the way he worked with teachers, pedagogiste, atelieriste, and outside researchers is vividly remembered. This document presents in book form the entire record of the data collection in Reggio Emilia, focusing on interpretations of classroom videos of children. In addition to Loris Malaguzzi, participants included Sergio Spaggiari, Tiziana Filippini, Vea Vecchi, Paola Strozzi, Giulia Notari, Laura Rubizzi, Marina Castagnetti, Magda Bondavalli, Marina Mori, and the American team of Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini, and John Nimmo.

This striking example of Malaguzzi’s work and philosophy-in-practice has not previously been available to the scholarly community or to the public interested in the history of the Reggio Emilia educational experience. Its round-table discussions and dialogues reveal valuable insights into the ways young children can be encouraged towards cooperative learning experiences, with implications far beyond the particular curriculum at hand. The editors’ commitment to progressive education and to the rights and potential of all children worldwide has led them to share this rich record of the experience, so that current readers and those yet to come can glimpse the brilliant minds at work during this era (1990), and as it were, “listen in” on the fascinating discussions that were held on the topic of “cooperation.”



Publication Date



Zea Books


Lincoln, NE


early childhood, pre-school, Italy, cooperation


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Methods | Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


Copyright © 2015 Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini, and John Nimmo.

Loris Malaguzzi and the Teachers: Dialogues on Collaboration and Conflict among Children, Reggio Emilia 1990