Philosophy - Cyert Center for Early Education - Carnegie Mellon University


Since 1993, the Cyert Center educators have been strongly inspired by the philosophy and characteristics of the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy and continue to be involved in a serious study of the Reggio Emilia approach to early education.

Notable among the many features of this approach include the following.

  • A deep respect for the potential of all young children.
  • Communication and collaboration among the three partners of education: children, parents, and educators.
  • Amiable, rich environments that are engaging, welcoming, organized, beautiful, and supportive of the work of children and educators.
  • Voices of children, parents, and educators made visible through various forms of documentation (reflections, panels, binders, etc.).
  • Relationships considered essential for the well-being and learning of children and adults.
  • Children and educators constructing knowledge together through exploration and problem solving.
  • Emergent curriculum and small group work based on the negotiation between children's and educators' interests.
  • The use of many expressive "languages" to represent ideas, questions, and learning, such as clay, paint, wire, drama, play, music, graphic arts materials and many more.

We believe our current practice, which is rooted in the inspiration from the philosophy of the Infant Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia, is the natural growth and evolution in the Center's long-time commitment to providing the highest quality care and early education.

In addition to our primary mission of providing care and early education, another important focus of the Center is to provide opportunities for professional exchanges, training, and collaborations with other early childhood educators and administrators in dialogue with the Reggio Emilia Approach through the Program for Collaborative Learning. The PCL offers a series of evening seminars, onsite visitation days, and tours and observations for small groups for a minimal fee. These events provide a vehicle in which the work of the children, educators and families can be shared locally and nationally with the early childhood community.