Obituary | Carolyn Pope Edwards

Obituary | Carolyn Pope Edwards

Carolyn Pope Edwards
Carolyn Pope Edwards

Carolyn Pope Edwards, 71, professor emerita of psychology and child, youth and family studies, died May 31.

Edwards was a University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty member for 18 years. Prior to coming to Nebraska, she taught at Vassar College, University of Massachusetts and University of Kentucky.

A renowned expert in how children learn, Edwards’ life mission was raising the quality of young children’s education by understanding how they develop and thrive cognitively, socially and morally. She traveled extensively to Italy, China and other countries, educating childcare professionals and delivering countless public addresses, workshops and teacher training sessions.

Edwards studied the Reggio model, a pioneering approach to early childhood education that was developed in the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. She became an advocate of the approach and was instrumental in its adoption to improve learning environments for children.

Her book, “The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education,” written with George Foreman and Lella Gandini, documented the many ways in which children communicate their thoughts and ideas. It also examined how schools of Reggio foster learning through that communication. The book was translated into numerous languages and became a central point of reference for professionals working in early childhood education.

Video: Carolyn Pope Edwards earns an ORCA award

Edwards’ many professional honors included the University of Nebraska’s Outstanding Research and Creative Activity award.

Edwards is survived by her husband, Richard, director of the Center for Great Plains Studies and professor of economics; three children, Samuel, George and Rebecca; four grandchildren; and her sisters, Georgia Pope and Kathleen Hughes.

A memorial service is 11 a.m. June 9 at First Plymouth Church, 2000 D St.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Carolyn Pope Edwards Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation or to any other program devoted to improving the quality of education for young children.