Lella Gandini (Elena Gandini Little), EdD, is the United States Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach. She has been in the early childhood education field for nearly four decades.
Gandini attended traditional schools in her native Italy and developed an interest in progressive education. In 1976, Gandini began collaborating on articles in Zerosei magazine, directed by Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach. Fluent in both Italian and English, Gandini studied at Smith College in Massachusetts, receiving her Master’s degree in child study. She earned her EdD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1988 with a dissertation on children’s bedtime rituals. Gandini also compared studies of children’s learning environments in Italy and America, presenting these observations at conferences and in scholarly articles. She conducted research, taught, and consulted on various childhood development topics. Gandini authored many articles and book chapters; she served as the co-editor on the comprehensive title Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education (1993).
Gandini specializes in early childhood education, bedtime rituals, children’s fears, folklore, nursery rhymes, and parent-teacher-child relationships.