Lella Gandini (Ed.D. 1988), Italian-born author and early childhood educator best known in the United States as the leading advocate for the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, has donated to The Strong in Rochester, New York, a collection of materials that spans her career in education. The Lella Gandini Early Childhood and Children’s Folklore Collection includes research notes, presentations, scholarly articles, books that she has written, and scores of other works in English and Italian on topics such as childhood development, early childhood education, and folklore.
[Photo above: Lella Gandini with G. Rollie Adams, the Strong Museum's president and CEO]
Gandini began her career as an early childhood educator in the mid-1970s and collaborated early on with Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach. She serves as the U.S. Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach and has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Lesley College, and Smith College. Gandini is co-editor of the comprehensive “Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood” and has written and spoken widely in Italy and the U.S. on children’s learning environments, bedtime rituals, children’s fears, children’s clothing, nursery rhymes, parent-child-teacher relationships, folklore, and other topics.
Gandini’s materials are housed in The Strong’s Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play and are available for scholars conducting research onsite at the museum.
The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education emerged after World War II in the northern Italian town that gives the approach its name. It recognizes that children learn differently and encourages teachers and students to work together to plan curriculum and create projects. This self-guided curriculum allows children to seek out knowledge by investigating what fascinates them.