The Education Department (EDU) of Bologna University (UNIBO) consists of 85 professors and researchers belonging to four subject areas – cultural anthropology, pedagogy, psychology and sociology – and pursuing interdisciplinary research objectives. The main lines of research developed by EDU include:
- early childhood education and care policy and practices, institutional contexts, pedagogies and curriculum, practitioners’ professionalism, initial professional preparation and in-service development, quality evaluation tools;
- innovative educational strategies promoting social inclusion in contexts of diversity (intercultural pedagogy and practices);
- methodologies and methods for investigating children’s learning and socialisation processes in ECEC and school institutions.
The EDU Department collects the legacy of a long standing pedagogical tradition connoting ECEC research in the local area (Emilia-Romagna Region and Municipalities) and it is one of the most important pioneers of the field world-wide, with over 30 years of teacher training, research and counselling experience. The peculiarity characterising ECEC research carried out within the Department is a strong link to the needs arising out of the social context within which educational institutions and practitioners are operating. This unfolds in bilateral agreements establishing ongoing cooperation between the School of Psychology and Education – hosted within the Department – and the local authorities and schools in the surrounding area. These agreements relate specifically to practitioners’ and teachers initial professional preparation (eg. placement activities in ECEC institutions/schools) and ongoing professional development (eg. in-service courses provided by academic staff to practitioners and teachers).
Lucia Balduzzi is Associate Professor at the School of Psychology and Education where she teaches BA courses on Play-based Educational Methodologies and Organisation of Learning Environments. Her research focuses on the innovations occurring in the ECEC sector by investigating the relations between institutions, educational policies and delivery models. Her recent work focuses specifically on educational continuity between pre-school and primary school institutions, which is explored in relation to pedagogical approaches to transitions as well as in relation to teachers’ professionalization across the ECEC and compulsory school education field (Lazzari & Balduzzi, 2013; 2014).
Arianna Lazzari is Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Education Department of Bologna University. She has been working in the field of ECEC for over ten years, gaining professional and academic experience both in Italy and abroad (UK, Ireland, Sweden). Her research focuses mainly on professionalism and professional development of practitioners working in early childhood settings across Europe as well as on ECEC policy developments in cross-national perspective. Recently, she has been involved in the Italian case study on ECEC within the H2020 project ‘INNOSI’ and participated – as a country-expert for Italy – to the ‘Study on the effective use of ECEC in preventing early school leaving’.
Lazzari, A. & Balduzzi L. (2013) ‘Bruno Ciari and educational continuity: The relationship from an Italian perspective’. In Moss, P. (eds.) Early Childhood and Compulsory Education. Reconceptualising the relationship, pp. 149-173. London: Routledge.
Lazzari, A. & Balduzzi, L. (2014) ‘The relationship between ECE and CSE in the training field. The Italian case.’ In Cloos, P., Hauenschild, K., Pieper, I. & Baader, M. (eds.) Elementar- und Primarpädagogik. Internationale Diskurse im Spannungsfeld von Institutionen und Ausbildungskonzepten, pp. 67 – 82. Heidelberg: Springer.
Lazzari, A., Giovannini, V. & Pinelli, G. (2014) ‘Ripensare la professionalità dell’insegnate nella scuola dell’infanzia, primaria e secondaria in una prospettiva di continuità’. In AA.VV. (a cura di) La professionalità dell’insegnante: valorizzare il passato e progettare il futuro, pp. 403-418. Roma: Aracne.