Study Abroad in Italy
A group of faculty and students from the Early Childhood Education program travel to study the infant/toddler, preschool, and lower elementary programs in the Emilia-Romagna Region of Italy at the end of May each year. Educational approaches explored through touring these programs will broaden the perspective of both faculty and students in the early childhood program. Italian models of early childhood are world renowned and considered state-of-the-art early childhood practices. The two most prominent approaches that emerged from this area (and continue to influence each other today) are Maria Montessori’s Montessori approach and Loris Malaguzzi’s Reggio Emilia approach.
LSU faculty members have partnered with faculty from both Salisbury University and the University of Bologna who are offering this experience for university credit through the Salisbury University course ELED 317: Integrating Aesthetic Experiences into Teaching and Learning through Salisbury University (available for undergraduate or graduate credit). Classes will take place on the University of Bologna (UniBo) campus, within community institutions, and on field trips to sites used to enrich teachers’ experiences. Students will work with experts in music, movement, art, and theater; visit local art museums and tour educational programs for local schools; and travel to nearby towns to see innovative projects and be immersed in the Italian culture. This collaboration further expands our program’s investment in the Reggio-inspired philosophy. Faculty will make linkages necessary to explore LSU’s ability to offer a similar experience.
Overview of Daily Activities
A typical day will begin with a gathering of faculty and students at UniBo for an orientation of the day’s activities. As part of this process, faculty will engage students in completing an anticipatory guide that asks them to reflect on what they think the day’s experiences will contribute to their learning. Following this meeting, the group will transition to one of a variety of community schools or other venues for experiential learning (venues include for example, children’s museums, Remidas, or the Loris Malaguzzi center). Following the day’s experience, students will debrief with faculty and reflect on the day’s learning, adding to what they included in the morning’s anticipatory guide. LSU faculty will gather with LSU students at the end of each day to specifically address implications for our own early childhood academic program and the ECELP.
Through this experience, all participants will be able to bring a more rounded understanding of how Reggio inspired schools like our LSU Child Development Laboratory Preschool adapt to a variety of local contexts. We hope to establish a long-term partnership with the University of Bologna similar to that established by Salisbury to integrate international coursework within the LSU early childhood academic program and allow us to increase the number of students to whom we can offer this opportunity in the future.
Study Group to Reggio Emilia, Italy
This study group is designed specifically for small groups of graduate and undergraduate students and accompanying professors whose work with students at U.S. colleges and universities is influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach to education. It fits well with short term faculty led study abroad programs, offering students practical international experience to support their corresponding academic coursework.
The experience of the Municipal Infant Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia is the subject of interest, research and exchange on the part of students, teachers, teacher educators, researchers, administrators, and political and cultural figures from all over Italy and throughout the world.
Study Group to Pistoia, Italy
Join the School of Education for a unique opportunity to visit the central Italian City of Pistoia, located in the Tuscany region.
Pistoia’s extensive network of infant toddler centers and preschools has come to the attention of the international education community. Through center visits and meetings with teachers and members of the pedagogical team, participants will learn about the educational experiences the city plans for children and the organizational strategies that have evolved over the years.
Pistoia’s infant toddler centers and preschools are run directly by the city council. Additionally, there are four spaces called Area Bambini, designed as meeting places for children and families, encouraging relationships and opportunities for play and learning. This rich heritage of knowledge is made available to our US Study Group through a collaboration between the Municipality of Pistoia and Angela Ferrario, International Study Tours, LLC.