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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.

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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Nothing Without Joy

http://thiskindylife.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/reflections-on-learning-in-reggio-plc.html

​Loris Malaguzzi, founder of Reggio Emilia's educational philosophy, pointed out in the 1970's that when learning and playing are seen as the same matter, then we create the environment from which joy can emerge. 

More and more parents and educators are today raising their voice because they believe in the fundamental value of this joy. Instead, current models of education are asking pupils, from preschool to college, to "discover the world already there", limiting learning to just one way of learning. Even worse, education is going to be made of another matter, grey coloured, far away from joy: policies with the specific targets of putting academic tests at the forefront, leaving in the back children's emotional development and wellbeing (see here the diary item about PISA test proposal and endorsement by the UK Minister for Education Nick Gibb). It seems that politicians in power have entirely disconnected from the world of learning and children, and become exclusively obsessed with the make-believe world of statistics.

Here is Malaguzzi's  eloquent poem, narrated at the opening of Reggio's 'Not just Anyplace' video:

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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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