Stories from Italy – Scuola dell’Infanzia Malaguzzi

By Carolina Bergonzoni (LiD Research Assistant, CIRCE, PhD candidate in Arts Education)

Over the past few months, I have been reading the testimonials of Italian schools involved in Learning in Depth (LiD) projects. Today, I want to share with you what I discovered about Scuola dell’Infanzia Malaguzzi in Modena. During the year 2017/2018 teachers Rita, Serena, and Federica had 26 students working on LiD in their kindergarten class.

The teachers divided the students into 8 groups and assigned the topics based on the students’ interests, also keeping in mind the broader goal of encouraging team work in the class. One “LiD story” I read and translated from Italian said:

To work in groups requires the ability to self-organize. Each group uses post-it notes to keep track of the most interesting and relevant pages so they can show them to their classmates. These are some of the aspects that students noticed more:

  • Qualitative difference: For instance, they discovered that horses have different shapes, sizes, and colours! The eyes, too, are different in shape and colour— the same with bread, wheels, and colours (some of the other assigned topics). Mattia is eager to show me a book with different types of red.
  • Exceptional and curious things: Students described images like the gigantic clouds of smoke on top of volcanos, volcanos that are underneath the water, and castle towers that reach up to the sky.
  • Things they like: Students expressed their interest in knights, motorcycles wheels, and cat toys. 

The topics chosen were cats, horses, wheels, bread, castles, colours, eyes, and volcanos. Since “the written word is not the only modality to access, or symbolize, an experience,” images were especially important for kindergarten students. Images are “a way to tell a story, notice aspects and details of the world that they experience and discover daily.” For these young students, their “work with images from magazines, newspapers, and books have been crucial.”


The creative aspect of the research is extremely motivating for students who feel the need to create, act, and solve problems. In fact, “when the teachers suggested that students could create a craft about their topics with clay, teachers noticed an increase in engagement and motivation. The teachers also noticed a willingness in collaborating and helping each other.”

At the end of the year, students shared their insights. Most of them appreciated the group work, the images they found in books/magazines, and sharing their work with others. What a success!

Interested in Learning More?

You can read more about LiD in Italy in this blog post titled “Reflecting on LiD: The Italian Experience,” and please stay tuned for more Italian Stories of LiD!

More images of the Kindergarten students’ experience in Modena can be find online here. Click here to listen to students from Scuola dell’Infanzia Malaguzzi in Modena share their experience with LiD. All the quotes are translated from Italian and the original “Storie di LiD Malaguzzi” can be found online here.

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