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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.

A Fascinating Programme: Sat 26 November, London

A weekend for early childhood educators to encounter the work of Reggio Emilia and develop their own competences in working across the range of expressive languages to support their children's learning and meaning-making.

9.45 – 10: Welcomes


10 – 10.20: Introducing the Hundred Languages of Children – 'this fantastic theory'. Peter Moss (Professor of Education, Institute of Education, London) 

"The theory of the 'hundred languages of children' and the way it informs pedagogical work is an important part of the identity of the municipal schools of Reggio Emilia. The 'hundred languages of children' refers to the many different ways children (indeed all human beings) understand, represent, communicate and express, ranging from the language of drawing to the language of mathematics.

In this short introduction, I want to offer my understandings about this theory, including: its meaning, what languages it encompasses and where it originated; the images of the child and the teacher that it assumes; the values (for example, democracy, dialogue, inter-connectedness, uncertainty and wonder) that it embodies; and its implications for early childhood education today, including ideas about learning and the conditions needed to enable these ideas to be enacted.

This will inevitably provoke questions about current government policy, with its focus on a very limited number of languages and readying for a compulsory schooling that emphasises the separation of languages. Malaguzzi wrote in a famous poem that "children have a hundred languages: they rob them of ninety nine school and culture". Is that true of us today? And how might we move to an education that valued and sustained multi-lingualism in children and young people?"


10.25 – 12.30: Working in Many Languages of Learning in Reggio - Annalisa Rabotti (pedagogista, Reggio Emilia.) Annalisa will explore in depth a project which illustrates and reflects on working in multiple languages into an enquiry of children. She will explore both the enriched learning of the children and the educators.

12.30 - 1.30: lunch

1.30 – 2.45: How can we begin to create places for learning in many expressive languages? A participatory exercise, exploring a video'd observation; teasing out many possibilities, applying and valuing principles of enquiry.

2.45 – 3: break

3 – 4: Annalisa will make a final contribution, being a response to questions tabled at close of morning, reflections on issues raised during the preceding exercise, plus a 'surprise'.

4.15: close

Further Conference information and Booking

Book now! Ring 0191 261 7666 if you have particular queries. 

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Planetary Messages: global visions of children

After an'amazing' week in Reggio Emilia, the 41 UK participants, amongst the 400 strong international group from 41 countries are taking last-minute time to pack and buy presents for their families, returning with determination, often overwhelming thoughts , questions and also commitments of all kinds.

We have just closed the week, viewing the strong, observant and delicate collection of work from the children of the city of Reggio. They had prepared it as, not only a gift to the city but also a message to the planet:

"Planetary Messages are children's thoughts, questions, dialogues on the world, on the planet."

We thought you would like to see it too - 

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Viviana Fiorentino
how amazing! Thanks for sharing!
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 12:04
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Snooker Halls or Learning Places?

"School is not at all like billiards. When you play billiards you push the ball with a certain force and it hits the table and bounces off; there's a definite way the ball will go, depending on force and direction. Children are not at all like this, predictable. But sometimes schools function as if they were; these are schools with no joy."

This is Loris Malaguzzi discussing in 1993 the qualities of a desirable learning place. He continues:

"... We need to be open to what takes place and able to change our plans and go with what might grow at that very moment both inside the child and inside ourselves.

Each one of us needs to be able to play with the things that are coming out of the world of children. Each one of us needs to have curiosity, and we need to be able to try something new based on the ideas that we collect from the children as they go along … As life flows with the thoughts of the children, we need to be open, we need to change our ideas; we need to be comfortable with the restless nature of life. All of this changes the role of the teacher, a role that becomes much more difficult and complex. It also makes the world of the teacher more beautiful, something to become involved in."

In reflecting on our 2015 work and events, and preparing for our 2016 professional development events* and consultancies. we've been reviewing and re-selecting background material from our colleagues in Reggio Emilia by way of an introduction. You'll find this inspiring talk amongst the selection here*.

Loris Malaguzzi's words are if anything, even more true today. We all know of the joyless schools (and the dispirited educators who feel they have to leave them). And yes, they can certainly have a look and feel of a snooker hall.

But. Our experience, and our connection with the experience and determination of others, shows the more joyful possibilities.

"You've given me hope where bulls stamped,
You've given me passion where ashes lay,
You've given me life where old bones creaked,
You've given me tranquillity in a world of voices,
I can now lead.
I see the beauty in the world again."

from a reflection by 2015 course participant Stefanie Hill.

In 2016, will we submit to the insistent click-clack of the snooker hall, or inhabit the difficult (and more beautiful) world of curiosity? And which world do we want for our children?

* Do please take a look at this new programme, and the selected background material from Reggio. And like and share it and all of that. We are sure you will find useful and inspiring material here; we did.

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