Progettazione and Projects

The educators in Reggio Emilia describe their planning for children as progettazione, a flexible approach which hypothesises many possible ways to work (in the classroom, promoting staff development and in relationship with the parents) towards particular intentions which, wherever possible, are shared by both children and teachers.

The initial hypothesises are subject to modification and changes of direction as the actual work progresses.

This approach is characterised in part by being both adult and child centred with the emphasis being on listening and a reciprocity that acknowledges the rights of all protagonists to be heard and given respect.

They have continued to use this Italian word when speaking in English to emphasis the distinction between their approach to planning and that found in emergent or negotiated curriculum. Progettazione is not emergent curriculum although it has some characteristics of that approach. Progettazione is not negotiated curriculum although it has some characteristics of that approach.



The topic of a project provides a vehicle for achieving a much larger intent. It is usually chosen by teachers collaborating together with a hypothesis or prediction of how things could proceed. Because the topic demands a commitment from the children, it is important that they warm to the topic and become engaged.

The projects involve provoking children to develop theories and strategies to test their theories in collaboration with others. This is usually in small groups who in turn share with the larger group and to learn from the other. In each project different values more prominent in different projects.

The project will grow in many directions without an overall ordering principle but always anchored by the teacher’s original research intent.