Edwards receives achievement award in education alliance


Carolyn Pope Edwards, Willa Cather Professor and professor of Psychology and Child, Youth, and Family Studies, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance.

The NAREA is a network of educators, parents, and advocates working to raise the quality of life and the quality of schools and centers for young children. The group is named after an Italian city that is well-known for the high quality and innovations of its public early childhood system for children from birth to 6.

The city's preschools have been influential worldwide in environmental design, partnership with families, teacher professional development and curriculum that fosters the creativity and intelligence of young children.

"The Reggio Emilia way doesn't just focus on children learning one thing at a time or from a narrow perspective," Edwards said. "It's an approach that values and sees children as whole people."

Edwards will be honored for devoting much of her career to the study of early child development.

Beginning with research in Kenya, Edwards has examined cultural and educational influences on children's social development in several countries, including Mexico, Italy, China and Norway.

Over the years, much of her writing and research has described and analyzed relationship-building practices and pedagogical documentation in the infant-toddler centers and preschools in northern and central Italy.

Edwards said she was surprised and honored by the award, which she will receive at the group's national conference June 25 in Chicago.

"In the course of my career, I just thought 'I'll do this, then I'll do this, and then this.' Altogether, it turns out that my body of work has been visible to other people."

Edwards is an author or editor of several books, including "The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education" with Lella Gandini and George Forman (1993; 1998; third edition in process); "Bambini: The Italian Approach to Infant/Toddler Care" with Lella Gandini (2002); "The Diary of Laura: Perspectives on a Reggio Emilia Diary" with Carlina Rinaldi (2008); and "Extending the Dance In Infant and Toddler Caregiving" with Helen Raikes (2009). Edwards joined the UNL faculty in 1997.