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Deep Influences on Thinking and Learning

Below are some of Allen Kay's favorites: a rich resource to be taped into. http://www.squeakland.org/community/mentors.html

Maria Montessori
Jerome Bruner
Jean Piaget
Lev Vygotsky
Marvin Minsky
Seymour Papert

To which add some of my own heroes…


Bruno MUNARI (1907-1998)

  • This artist, writer, designer, architect, graphic, designer, educator, philosopher, has no interest in luxury and no interest in placing the trendy before the enduring or an artistic gesture before method. The Munari Principle: lucidity, leanness, exactitude and humor. Picasso called him "the new Leonardo". His advice: Take life as seriously as a game. One of this teachings: View the rainbow in profile. He taught the world to "observe and recreate nature" as did Marcel Duchamp and considered objects a separate reality to be manipulated. "Every facet of the design process has to maintain a relationship with the senses. When you confront an object, you've got to touch it, smell it, listen to it... "

    Although Bruno Munari was a designer, he also wrote many children's books, including:
  • Bruno Munari's ABC (an alphabet book)
  • From Afar It is an Island (text and photographs of a beach stones and how to arrange and paint on them)
  • The Circus in the Mist (although a mist surrounds the town, everything is bright beneath the circus tent
  • Zoo (half real, half imaginary zoo with colorful animals and descriptions)
  • Who's There? (animals inside packages of different sizes and shapes)
  • Animals for Sale (peek-a-boo pictures)
  • The Yellow Conjurer (about a magic show)


Munari tree

Workshops by Bruno Munari
When drawing a tree, always remember that every branch is more slender than the one that came before. Part of the "Workshop" series which describes different methods of learning, from educational activities to explanatory pamphlets to poetic play. The illuminating gentle genius of Munari offers basic instructions and plenty of stimuli, suggestions and pictures to get adults and children working together.


Gianni RODARI (1920 – 1980)


  • Il libro delle Filastrocche ("The book of children's poems", 1951)
  • Il Romanzo di Cipollino ("The Adventures of the Little Onion," 1951)
  • La freccia azzurra ("The Blue Arrow," 1953)
  • Gelsomino nel paese dei bugiardi ("Gelsomino in the Country of Liars," 1958)
  • Filastrocche in cielo e in terra ("Nursery Rhymes in the Sky and on Earth," 1960)
  • Favole al telefono ("Fairy Tales Over the Phone," 1962)
  • Gip nel televisore ("Gip in the Television," 1962)
  • La torta in cielo ("The Cake in the Sky," 1966)
  • La Grammatica della Fantasia ("The Grammar of Fantasy")
  • Lettere scritte a macchina ("Letters written on a typewriter")

The grammar of fantasy is an extraordinary book …

It depicts how any word chosen by chance can function as a magical word to exhume fields of memory and excite imagination. Details several word games of invention for children (such as the "fantastic binomial," using creative errors, and "Little Red Riding Hood in a Helicopter") that juxtapose normally unrelated words and that can help children "dive" for stories. (SR)



Educator, Founder of Asili Nidi, Reggio Emilia. Italy


The hundred languages of children……

We believe children have an enormous potential and curiosity. They strive to understand the world, making their own theories to explain how it functions. The word education derives from the Latin word "ex-ducere" that means to bring out. The staff at L'Atelier understands that children's knowledge needs to be brought out using their natural curiosity and not filled in. We believe that each person constructs their own intelligence from direct interaction with the environment and in social groups (Jean Piaget's constructivism and Lev Vygotsky's socio constructivism theory). We also share Jerome Bruner's idea that young children are capable of intuitively grasping basic concepts of science at an early age. Our approach is not a specific cognitive approach, it is a way of perceiving children, a way of working with them taking in consideration their own differences and beliefs. This demands a high level of teacher understanding, involvement and commitment.

Selected resources about The Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education include:


  • Edwards, C.P., Gandini, L. & Forman, G.E. (Eds.), (1993) The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education: Greenwhich, CT, Ablex.
  • City of Reggio Emilia, (1987) The Hundred Languages of Children: Narrative of the Possible, Catalog of the Exhibit: Text in Italian and English, photographs from the exhibit. (Distributed in the US by Reggio Children USA)
  • Reggio Children S.r.l.(1995)The Fountains:from a Project for the Construction of an Amusement Park for birds, English-Italian Bilingual Collection: The Unheard Voice of Children n.1; Reggio Emilia, Italy. (Distributed in the U.S. by Reggion Children USA)


  • To make the portrait of a lion (1987)City of Reggio Emilia. (The story of a project involving 5-year old children and a city landmark)(Distributed by Reggio Children USA)
  • The Long Jump: A video Analysis of small group projects in early education practice in Reggio Emilia, Italy (1991) Forman G.E. & Gandini L. A long term project at the Diana School in Reggio Emilia. (Available from Perfomanetics, 19 The Hollow, Amherst, MA 01002)
  • Childhood (PBS 1991). Short segments on Reggio Emilia in Parts 3 (Love's Labors) and 4 (In the land of the giants) Ambrose Video Publishing, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 22245, NY 10104.
  • The Creative Spirit (PBS 1992). Segment on Reggio Emilia in Creative Beginnings.PBS Video, 4401 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
  • Early Learning in Reggio Emilia, Italy (1993) Narration by Brenda Fyfe. APPLES Magazine. Western Illinois University, College of Education, 27 Horrabin Hall, Macomb, IL 61455.
  • A message from Loris Malaguzzi (1994) An interview by Lella Gandini with Loris Malaguzzi. Performanetics. (Distributed by Reggio Children USA)
  • An Amusement Park for Birds (1994) Forman G.E. & Gandini L. A long term project at La Villetta School in Reggio Emilia. (Available from Performanetics, 19 The Hollow, Amherst, MA 01002)
  • To Build a Bridge in Clay(1994) A project with two five year olds, in  the adaptation of the Reggio Emilia Approach at the Model Early Learning Center, in Washington D.C.Education Products. The National Learning Center. 800 Third Street, N.E. Washington D.C. 20002.
  • The Hundred Languages of Children, Lyon M.S. (1995) A visit to the Reggio Emilia Exhibit. (Available from M.S. Lyon, 101 Lombard Street, 608 W, San Francisco, CA 94111, Fax 415 397 8211