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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.

Children and education at the centre, say politicians

c. Daily Mirror

Despite the Education Hustings event being cancelled, we have heard some politicians thoughts and intents on education:

"The Next time we see a Tory education policy based on evidence will be the First time we see a Tory education policy based on evidence.(Ian Mearns, Gateshead MP); 

"Start with children - in preschool - 30 hours a week for all children - in life we need to do things together: let our children enjoy those wonderful creative preschool years together, so that their memories are of learning and doing things together - that's what makes humans strong and support each other." (Jeremy Corbyn, Leader, Labour Party.) 

Both at packed public rally in Gateshead, 5th July. It is so refreshing to hear speeches beginning with the need for education for young children - not just 'childcare for parents' or 'training for global competition' - but on championing sociable learning, and on values for life. 

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UK Election - Quiz the Main Parties on their intents for education: Wed 24 May

 TES General Election 2017 Education Hustings

"TES is delighted to announce it will be hosting a General Election education hustings with education secretary Justine Greening, her Labour shadow, Angela Rayner, and their Lib Dem counterpart, John Pugh.

Taking place at the Emmanuel Centre in the heart of Westminster on Wednesday the 24th May at 6:30pm, the event is sure to frame the education conversation for the last frantic days of the campaigning.

The debate will be hosted by Tes editor Ann Mroz, and you can be part of the 1,000-strong audience that questions the politicians on all aspects of education policy – including grammar schools, funding, assessment and pedagogy.

Tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. You must arrive with your ticket to gain entry to the hustings."

This will be an excellent opportunity to question the three main parties in England on their policies for education,on funding and assessment - and their basic principles on what education should be.

Tickets are free but space is limited- register now.

If you email us  that you are registered, we may be able to link people  up for the day; this may strengthen the effectiveness of contributions and questions.

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Are you a 'Reggio-Inspired' school (or parent) in West London? We are looking for you!

We are often asked by parents: "do you know a school with a Reggio-inspired philosophy in our area?"

Here is a request from a new network member – can you help? 

Their letter is what so many parents are asking, once they know what it is they are looking for. 

"We are a family of four (2 parents, 2 children nearly 4 years old), moving from Los Angeles to London in mid-April. Our daughters have attended a "Reggio-inspired" preschool in Los Angeles since August, and we've witnessed how the "Reggio-inspired" school which values children as already capable citizens has helped them start to truly understand themselves, the world around them and their place in it. For example, when something disagreeable happens, they have an ability to express their feelings, talk about their feelings, offer/reflect on possible solutions/strategies for the future – this is something they do every day at school. 

We find this line by John Dewey very instructive: "Education is not the preparation for life. It is life." 

We'd love for them to continue their education in London by attending a school and/or connecting with after-school programs/art teachers/like-minded families that prioritise many of the following values: 

  • learning from one another (children, teachers, parents, environment); learning from doing and child-initiated, rather than following a pre-planned curriculum; where the culture is grounded in listening to the thoughts and passions of the children and reflecting questions with questions (that we don't know the answer to); 
  • understands that all children are born competent to engage in the world makes relationships with materials, with people, with space, meaningful, contextually-grounded explorations where children are given real tools, real materials, and time to explore, to process; 
  • supports children in the expansion of their thinking and reflection, not simply telling 'the right answer'; emotional intelligence – children talk about their feelings and are given the opportunity and physical space to sit with their feelings; 
  • behaviors mean something and are noted without judgment; children are strong, capable, and competent, and their ideas are valuable; 
  • children already have something to offer the world; modelling respect and empathy; providing clear guidelines/limits and involving children in the problem-solving, rule-making process; 
  • teachers are researchers, they guide the learning, they take the time to observe the students. They are students, too; scaffolding is used – everything and everyone which supports a child's learning; 
  • documentation is a key component to teachers' research – words and posters on walls reflects back key aspects of the learning, who we are as a group, who a child is within the group, and it says to children 'we value you;' 
  • parents are partners – they share in the research process, in what the children and teachers are learning; environment is the third teacher; 
  • the "100 languages of children," – speaking, drawing, clay, wire, music, hands, work, play, reason, dream, body, mind etc…all are tools for expression and are interconnected. 

For now, we are looking for resources within 30 minutes of Notting Hill. Thank you for reading, Sanam Mahloudji and Zachary Krug"

If you are or know of a Notting Hill/West London nursery which you think may fit their bill, please write to us using the message module on the left of this page.

If you are an early childhood setting anywhere in the UK, you might be interested in this survey:
http://www.sightlines-initiative.com/survey-reggio-inspired.html
through this survey we are trying to build a map of settings across the UK which can help you being visible and connected as well as others (like parents or young educators) to open up to new possibilities.

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