Mental health and the “reggio approach”: how an educational model can shape interventions on the psychology of children

Children’s psychological wellbeing is the underlying mission of the so-called Reggio Emilia Approach (REA). It is pursued through an educational model centered on the child, seen as a competent agent of its own development: fundamental allies of the child’s upbringing are the family, the teachers, the environment and the polis, which all contribute as learners in the child’s community. The pillars of such approach are known for their pedagogical implications: the one hundred languages, the art atelier, the environment as the third educator). However, the scientific community has not yet investigated the effects of the REA on the psychological constructs in the early stages of human development, nor on the effects of its pro-social activities on the wellbeing of children.

The Symposium allows reflections on the character of children, stemming from the research on moral competences and virtues which are considered trans-cultural, and highlights the role of the adults in the co-construction of such values. The focus on ethics becomes evident also in the contribution on the political values of the Reggio approach in fighting against the mafiosa culture, that is often breathed in and assimilated since childhood in school contexts. The Reggio approach encompasses mental health also by offering an investigative space for negotiating the core construct of childhood in cultures where young carers struggle to access to education and general wellbeing. Finally, the Symposium offers a view on the impact of its most-famous atelier on the health of children with disabilities, by experiencing an artistic approach to inclusion.


University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Italy

Teaching Psychodynamics of Family Relations, Clinical Psychology and Group Processes. Program Chair of the first Industrial PhD in Reggio Childhood Studies, since its opening, leading all introductory seminars for the first-year doctoral candidates.

Tenured academic, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, serving as Chair of the Erasmus Committee and other mobility programs, with more than thirty different international partners worldwide.

Principal investigator or team member in many international programs, like the Atlantis-Glofied on early childhood, or the Grundtvig-Seniorks on lifelong learning.

Visiting Professor at NYU Law School, invited by professor Jerome Bruner.

Chair of the Governance and Bylaws Committee of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes (IAGP), initiator of the FOYT program for young professionals. As a graduate in Labor and Organizational Psychology, with a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a post-doc degree in Human Rights, she is a designer of international conferences like Ryla (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) and FLAM (Femininity, Leadership, Authority, Masculinity), an NGOs’ advisor (like CISS Morocco), and a researcher at educational institutions (such as Rakhawy Research Center in Cairo).

Her recent publications are in the field of youth resilience, death education, teen dating violence, psychodynamic large groups, creativity and group processes: her scientific interest is mainly on psychoanalysis and its developments applied to educational settings.