Pioneers: Donaldson and Malaguzzi

Written by: Estelle Martin
30 November 2017

Margaret Donaldson and Loris Malaguzzi came from very different cultures and backgrounds, but had a similar passion for ensuring that the natural abilities of children were at the heart of early years practice.

Key points

  • Donaldson believed that when children’s thinking is embedded in context it makes ‘human sense’ and influences their understanding and sense of self
  • She developed changes in the way children were set tasks, and tests of thinking and understanding
  • Malaguzzi believed that children are connected to others through relationships (to their family and society) and that parents are central to the education process; children have rights
  • Documentation makes learning ‘visible’, educators are learners and researchers

Note: This article first appeared in the January 2008 issue of eye


In the fourth of our series on early years pioneers, we take a look at the work and influence of psychologists Margaret Donaldson and Loris Malaguzzi, who used their experience to influence the education of young children, and to extend our knowledge of how children learn.

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