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Diary

In this blog we are posting news from around the network, reflections on general news items and other broad-ranging items of interest. Current contributors are Sightlines Initiative directors Robin Duckett, Liz Elders, Debi Keyte Hartland and Chris Merrick.

Curiosity is the essence of human existence

Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan and his daughter Teresa.NASA

"Curiosity is the essence of human existence. 'Who are we? Where are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?' I don't know. I don't have any answers to those questions. I don't know what's over there around the corner. But I want to find out."

-- Gene Cernan

Eugene Cernan was (currently) the last man on the moon. I caught this reflection of his one April morning last year in a radio interview, and it's sat since then on my desk.  With short-term preoccupations threatening to drown out the current UK public sphere, I thought this was a good moment to paste this up, and gently bring us back to a bigger picture of human aspiration: certainly the one that exists in all the children 'round us - and hopefully in us too.


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Education is in the beauty of life

Biodiversity: "we are all in this together."

Around fifteen years ago I was in my second year of biological studies at the University. I was in Italy, specifically in Tuscany, a region worldwide known for the splendour of its Renaissance art. At that time, lecturers used to took students to nature observing it for long periods: memories of my ramblings in woods looking for living creatures, from plants to microscopic animals, are still sculptured in my mind. Seeing and studying the multitude of life in all its forms and "in the field" was the guiding experience that brought me to become a biologist with a deep urge to understand biodiversity and work out solutions to preserve it.

This interest took me and my family around Europe, giving us the possibility to live in Germany and now in UK, working with colleagues from all around the world. Meanwhile I became a mother. Facing the responsibility of what education implies, I felt the urgency to re-think the responsibility of each individual in its daily life in a wider perspective and thus the importance of education in our society: we are taking the responsibility to build a sustainable society, if we want our Planet and us to survive.

From my point of view, that of a biologist and a mother, we take care of the Earth as much as we take care of our children and thus education. And the other way around. So, we have the huge duty to educate our children to take care of our Planet and its biodiversity, which sustains us every single day. In other words, we have the responsibility (and the honour!) to facilitate the love that every human being innately has for nature. When during my work I try to work out solutions to communicate awareness of Earth's biodiversity to every people, the light that leads me is ultimately the same that led me many years ago in those woods in Tuscany while I was studying the brimming of life. This light is made in its core by the sense of beauty – the same that probably inspired many Renaissance artists, like Leonardo or Michelangelo!

How do we communicate children caring for the Planet Earth? How do we let children thrive this light? Giving them time and space to nurture and let flourish the sense of beauty that they innately have in a nutshell since they are born: experiencing nature every day, playing in nature, trusting their ability to relate to nature.

Children's innate recognition of beauty and educational work that supports this have been widely studied and enlightened by eminent protagonists of the Reggio experience. 

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Seeking an early years educator - the American School in London

One of the International Schools of our network is looking for an educator:

"We are looking for an assistant teacher who is excited to learn more about the Reggio philosophy and who wants to work with 4 and 5 year olds in a joyful, play based environment.

We are an American International School with students from 4 to 18 years of age.In Kindergarten (Reception and Year 1) we believe learning through playful inquiry is the foundation for intellectual, physical, and social and emotional growth. Inspired by Reggio Emilia and The Project Approach, we value children's natural curiosity and inclination to explore the world around them. The picture shows some work the children did on a project about Sound...they were making up ways to represent a composition using various percussion instruments and with a picture as a provocation."

ASL are making a real focus on their professional development at the moment, with all of the team having been to Reggio (or coming this April) and the core early years team are participating in our Skylight programme this year. It could be a very exciting school to join, at this point!

You will find their application form here (Lower School Assistant Teacher), and you'll also be able to read more about the school on their site, through the link.

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