Reggio Emilia
Thursday 7 July 2022

#ProgressivesSpeakUp: School of young local politicians | Reggio Emilia

#ProgressivesSpeakUp: School of young local politicians | Reggio Emilia

09.00 - 18.00
School for young local leaders
Reggio Emilia Reggio Emilia
from: English
to: Italian
Young local leaders


We often hear that young people are the future, but it is high time that they are empowered to become the protagonists of the change Europe needs. Their courage is needed to implement a new way to do politics and there is no better place to start than at local and regional level!

The “#ProgressivesSpeakUp: School of young local politicians” reaches its third iteration with a special edition!

Together with the Young European Socialists (YES), the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions is proud to host the third and special edition of our School of young elected politicians, a training for young people coming from all over Europe, elected at the local, or regional level, who have the ambition to make progressive change happen in their respective communities.

Child Union visual


Time has come for a European #ChildUnion! 

This year’s School will focus on an important priority of European progressives: promoting equal access to high-quality early childhood education and care for all children in the European Union.

Almost one in five people living in the EU is a child. As progressives, we wish to invest on the political commitment of young leaders to put child policies at the centre of their action. The Summer School will be a unique opportunity to debate, learn and reflect with professional child care trainers and educators on a large number of issues affecting childhood development and the best policies that can support children achieving their maximum potential.

Our contribution in making the European Child Union become a reality, we will bring together progressive politicians at the local and regional levels who wish to be inspired and trained on the ways in which the most forward looking child policies can be realized in their constituencies, share best practices, engage with leading progressive politicians and most importantly, be part of an incredibly community powered by the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions and its partners.

Additional information and logistical considerations

Curious about this year's special edition? Continue reading if you want to know more!

The #ProgressivesSpeakUp School will take place in welcoming Reggio Emilia, Italy, a city led by a progressive Mayor, Luca Vecchi, representative of the Italian Democratic Party (PD).

The training will have a duration of 3 days and will begin with arrivals in the morning of Thursday, 7 July and finish by Saturday 9 July 2022 midday. The closest airports are Bologna and Milan Linate.

The training will be hosted by Reggio Children, our local partner, a world-wide renowned centre for the defence and promotion of the rights and potential of boys and girls. Reggio Children was created to enhance and strengthen the experience of Reggio Emilia’s municipal schools and infant-toddler centres, known in Italy and around the world as Reggio Emilia Approach®, so you don't want to miss this one out!

Check out the past editions of our School of young local politicians

2019 - First edition @ Brussels, Belgium

2021 - Second edition @ Seville, Spain

Find out more about our campaign for a Child Union

Progressive cities and regions have already put child policies at the centre of their action, and many are leading with their innovative ideas. We believe that these good practices can greatly inspire others and contribute to steering the debate. Share your ideas with us and sign our call for a European Child Union


Thursday, 7 July 2022, Auditorium A

12:30 – 13:30
Arrival and registration of participants

  • Sandwiches and beverages at disposal upon arrival at the Café

13:00 – 14:00
Open YEPs' Speed Dating Tables

14:00 – 14:15
Opening - Progressives Speak Up School 2022

  • Christophe Rouillon, President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions, Mayor of Coulaines

14:15 – 14:30
Welcome message by the Mayor

  • Early childhood as a political and identity trait of the City
  • Luca Vecchi, Mayor of Reggio Emilia

14:30 – 14:45
Reggio Emilia, an example for a diffused education

  • Raffaella Curioni, Commissioner for Education and Sport of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia

14:45 – 15:00
Session on the Reggio Emilia Approach

  • Introducing the Reggio Emilia educational system
  • Cristian Fabbi, President of Reggio Children

15:00 - 16:30
Session on the Reggio Emilia Approach

  • The educational project of Reggio Emilia
  • Maddalena Tedeschi, Pedagogue of the of Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler and preschools 
  • Exchange of views with the participants

Bus departure

17:00 – 18:45
 #UpToYouth on the move

  • Inspiration from Guastalla
  • Study visit led and hosted by YEP participant Alessandra Medici in her town of Guastalla to a child facility centre which was built after the earthquake in 2012. It has been nicknamed the "Whale", for the shape of its large arches that resemble those of the belly of the cetacean protagonist of "Pinocchio". The building is eco-sustainable, according to the highest anti-seismic standards. It produces 45% of electricity thanks to photovoltaic panels and saves 55% of water thanks to a rainwater reuse system.
  • Matteo Artoni, Councillor for welfare, school and youth policies and Vice-Mayor of Guastalla
  • Tania Bertacchi, pedagogue Azienda Bassa Reggiana
  • Alexia Salati, Association Progettiinfanzia
  • Monica Lasagni, Association Progettiinfanzia

Bus departure

19:15 – 20:30
Experience the Festa de l'Unità in Correggio

Festa de l'Unità is a social-democratic and inter-generational festival around several happenings, involving political conferences, low-price typical foods, live music. Local Festa de l'Unità starts in July until September.

  • Dinner at the Festa dell’Unità restaurant run by volunteers of the Democratic Party

Work, Rights & Sustainability: A Stronger Europe for All

  • Welcome message by the Mayor of Correggio, Ilaria Malavasi
  • Debate at the Festa (Italian only)
  • Brando Benifei, Member of the European Parliament and Head of the Italian delegation to the Socialist & Democrats
  • Ana Pirtskhalava, Secretary-General of the Young European Socialists (YES) Group
  • Luca Vecchi, Mayor of Reggio Emilia
  • Laura Sparavigna, President of the committee on social policies of the City of Florence
  • Conclusions by Massimo Gazza, Secretary of the Partito Democratico of the Province of Reggio Emilia
  • Moderator: David Rinaldi, Director of Studies and Policies (FEPS) or local PD activist or local journalist


Friday, 8 July 2022, Auditorium A 

09:15 - 09:30
The making of a European Child Guarantee

  • Brando Benifei, Head of the Italian delegation of Partito Democratico in the European Parliament

09:30 - 09:45
Preschools and infant-toddler centres as historical and political heritage of the city

  • Nando Rinaldi, Director of Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler and preschools

09:45 - 11:00
Session on the Reggio Emilia Approach

  • Introduction to the Culture of the atelier and 100 languages of Children
  • Marco Spaggiari, atelierista, Reggio Children
  • Lorella Trancossi, pedagogist, Reggio Children

11:00 – 11:15
Food Lab of the Foundation Reggio Children

  • For a healthy and seasonal nutrition for children
  • Alessandro Tagliavini, Chef Atelierista

11:15 – 11:30
Coffee break

Session on the Reggio Emilia Approach

11:30 – 13:00
Atelier at the Loris Malaguzzi Centre

  •  Reggio Children Atelieristas

13:00 – 14:15
Lunch at the Reggio Children

14:15 – 14:30
Introduction to the EU Child Guarantee and Child Union

  •  Christian Morabito, international researcher and FEPS expert on inequalities, social policies and early childhood education

14:30 – 16:00
Panel discussion – The European Child Guarantee

  • Raquel Corval, ProChild CoLAB and University of Minho
  • Claudia Giudici, Guarantor for the rights of children and adolescents of the Region Emilia Romagna
  • Stefano Rimini, Social Policy Expert, UNICEF ECARO
  • Anna Serafini, National coordinator for Italy of the Plan for the Child Guarantee

16:00 – 16:30
Coffee break

16:30 - 18h00
The call for inclusive child policy

  • Helin Yildiz, City Councillor of Varese for multiculturalism
  • Maria Herczog, Senior Lecturer at Eötvös Loránd University and Director of the Family Child Youth Association, Hungary
  • Donatella Porzi, Councillor of the region Umbria and former special needs teacher            
  • Exchange of views with the participants

Bus departure to Chalet Lido Po

  •  At the confluence of the Crostolo stream with the Po River, we will spend the night together to share ideas in a characteristic Chalet now turned into a restaurant.

19:00 - 21h30
#UpToYouth Aperi-Debate on the Po River
PES and YES campaign

  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary-General of the PES and Member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions
  • Ana Pirtskhalava, Secretary-General of the Young European Socialists (YES)
  • José Santoro, Secretary General of Rainbow Rose and LGTBIQ advisor
  • Rita Monticelli, coordinator of the gender and Women Studies for the University of Bologna, Mayor's Delegate for Human  Rights, interreligious and intercultural dialogue of the City of Bologna
  • Simona Lembi, responsible for the Gender Equality Plan of the Metropolitan City of Bologna


Saturday, 9 July 2022, Auditorium A

9:45 – 11:00
Panel discussion – Children, the war and us

  • Anastasiia Nesterova, City councillor of Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine
  • Carla Rinaldi, President of Reggio Children Loris Malaguzzi Foundation
  • Raffaella Curioni, City Councillor for Education of Reggio Emilia
  • Exchange of views with the participants

11:00 – 12:00
World Café

  • Set-up of working groups amongst participants to develop ideas around city on how to transform their communities into child-friendly spaces.
  • How to apply what you have learnt in your local community?
  • How to use this in a campaign?

12:00 – 12h45
Presentation of the proposals by the rapporteurs of the working groups

12:45 – 13:00
Closing remarks

  • Cristian Fabbi, President of Reggio Children
  • Luca Vecchi, Mayor of Reggio Emilia

Lunch at Reggio Children