All about Reggio Emilia and me

When I was 4 years old my father, an engineer, was hired to build a tobacco processing plant in Bari, Italy. We landed in Bologna, Italy in January 1960. My older siblings went away to boarding schools, in Switzerland and Milan. However, I stayed in the neighborhood and attended a Maria Montessori preschool. At the time I had no idea that it was a "special" preschool.   It wasn't until I told this story in one of my early education classes that I recognized the significance of attending a preschool in Bologna Italy influenced by Maria Montessori and her "Casas dei Bambinis". Fast forward to 1996. I was conducting research for an exhibit about the power of air for 2-5 year olds and came across a popular early childhood philosophy called Reggio Emilia. Reggio was actually a city in Italy, not far at all from Bologna, where early education celebrated the capabilities of the young child. I was intrigued. I found several American researchers who had traveled for the Reggio Emilia study tour and brought the philosophy back to their preschool or university settings. They greatly informed the exhibit research I was conducting.I continued to follow the progress of the Reggio influence in the U.S. for many years after that. As a member of the Association of Children's Museums I had heard talk over the years about organizing a study tour to Reggio. I tucked the idea away as a future goal and dream of mine. As I write this several of my close colleagues in the children's museum field are on a study tour of  Reggio Emilia. Unfortunately this was not the year I could make that happen. I know I will have another opportunity, or at least I hope so. I am grateful for the experience I had as that 4 year old to attend a school much like a Reggio school in Bologna Italy. Who knows, maybe that had an influence on my career path. Think so?