The Canadian Association for Young Children is proud to present Reggio Children with the “Friends of Children” Award for its outstanding scholarly, advocacy, innovative and practical contribution to the wellbeing of young children. 

Reggio Children is an association that formed after the death of Loris Malaguzzi in 1994, with the intention that the work he had begun would continue: to defend and promote the rights and potential of all children. They have formed a vast network of educators, researchers, parents, policy- makers, and organizations interested in children. With its continuous work in relations, their aim is to make ideas, practices, theories and experiences available and shareable so that childhood should be more visible, more audible, without boundaries of geography, ideology or culture. Reggio Children offers itself as an opportunity for re-launching dialogue and sharing around a culture of childhood based on the necessity of respecting each child’s identity and promoting his/her potential and rights. 

This organization has been in dialogue with educators in over 80 countries. Every day in their work, they show what it means Spring/Printemps 2011 to cross borders, to listen, to collaborate. In addition to their intense work and research with educators and academics from all over the world, they have also worked closely with philosophers, designers, and artists of all types. Their long- term collaboration with Harvard University has produced a rich body of research and has helped us to begin to reconceptualize childhood and early education. 

The educators in Reggio Emilia have not only developed this philosophy that is inspiring other educators around the world, they continue to build on their understandings, to challenge themselves to deepen their understandings, never still, never setting a curriculum in stone, always emphasizing that childhood is a social construct, and that its meaning continues to change in every context. They also have the courage and generosity of spirit to do this work on a world stage, inviting others to think with them, without certainty, without arrogance, but with sincere curiosity and interest in co- constructing knowledge. They are giants. 

The books and exhibits of the work by the children and educators in Reggio Emilia have revealed a level of competence 47 in young children that has provoked us to want to think better and do better with and for children and families. The work by the children and educators that has toured the world has astonished us, inspired us, provoked us, and made us restless to build contexts of dialogue where such rich lives with children could be lived. 

It is an honour to present the Friends of Children award to this most worthy organization during the Canadian Study Week in Reggio Emilia. Submitted by Karyn Callaghan Friends of Children presented to Amelia Gambetti, representative of Reggio Children, in Reggio Emilia, April 2011.