Malaguzzi’s Charter of Rights

The Charter of Rights is what Stefania Giamminuti (2013) calls the ‘ethical heart’ of Reggio Emilia. It almost a natural evolution that many in education have taken over the last few decades. In essence, it is explicit acknowledgement of and respect for the rights of all. As such, all children are viewed as possessing rights and strengths, rather than needs.

As Giamminuti in Dancing with Reggio Emilia elegantly explains, children are not in need, but a citizen with rights, a partner in culture and knowledge.

“It’s necessary that we believe that the child is very intelligent, that the child is strong and beautiful and has very ambitious desires and requests. This is the image of the child we need to hold.”

- Malaguzzi, 1994.

This ideal is something that we see in early childhood educators everyday: teaching and learning experiences are shared experiences. Educators, families, friends all influence environments and experiences. This is an image of the child that holds the view that all children have qualities, potential and possibilities.

Loris Malaguzzi

(Correggio 1920 – Reggio Emilia 1994)

Loris Malaguzzi was the founder of Reggio Emilia’s educational philosophy and together with the Comune and many local administrators he participated in the birth and building of Reggio Emilia’s network of municipal preschools (3-6) and infant-toddler centres (0-3).

Malaguzzi graduated in Pedagogy and began his career as a primary school teacher in 1946. In 1950 he qualified as an educational psychologist and founded Reggio Emilia’s municipal Psycho-Pedagogical Medical Centre where he worked for more than twenty years.

In 1963 he began working with city administration on opening the first municipal preschools. In 1967 this initial network of schools began to take in self-managed “Asili del Popolo”, the People’s Schools founded at the end of the war, and in 1971infant-toddler centres were also added. Malaguzzi directed this network of schools for several years with other close colleagues and defined their cultural project.

He was adviser to the Ministry of Education, director of the Zerosei and Bambini journals, and in Reggio Emilia in 1980 he founded the Nidi Infanzia National Group.

Malaguzzi also conceived the idea for the exhibitions The Eye if it Leaps over the Wall and The Hundred Languages of Children.

Loris Malaguzzi was the untiring promoter of an innovative philosophy of education which with its theory of the hundred languages gives value to the potentials, the resources, and many intelligences of all children.