Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education

Diary Library

This Blog (or Diary) section has a broad mix of articles, reflections, comments, position pieces, as well as requests and information from Network members. It is becoming quite a comprehensive library. You can browse using the categories and search modules to the left.

Do contact us with your suggestions for new articles - and we really appreciate comments and other feedback.
Robin Duckett

Imagine a forest

"Trees give the earth life and beauty." (Laura, 5 years old)

Children and educators of the city of Reggio Emilia's preschools and infant-toddler centres  have been celebrating the centenary of the birth of Professor Loris Malaguzzi , father of the Reggio Emilia Approach, with  an imaginative and insightful study on trees. It is on display in 77 shops in the town centre - here is a video presentation for those of us who are not yet visiting the centre and appreciating it first-hand:

The future of the planet and the defence of the environment are among the themes of a true world emergency and among the most "felt" by children and young people.

The children relate with innate empathy to the natural world, they wonder about what can be considered "living" and what are the elements that unite and distinguish all living beings.
The "Imagine a forest" project was born out of these children's questions and their desire to understand the natural world.
The protagonists are children, trees and the language of graphics.
The trees representing the vast world of living subjects who inhabit the Earth together with us. Trees, which children and humanity must learn to respect, love, perceive as plant brothers, recognising them as fundamental for the survival of the planet.

© Preschools and kindergartens - Institution of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and Reggio Children 

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2415 Hits

Japan-UK Early Childhood Education Dialogues

I am just back from encounters with a network of early childhood educators in Yamanashi prefecture, a large district to the West of Tokyo.

The plan has grown over conversations spanning a few years, following Professor Asami Akiyama's participation in a Sightlines Initiative Reggio Study group some years ago. We have been able to have good discussions during this time, as she has been doing research at Newcastle. We discussed many things, including the action-research projects of Sightlines (in 2018 we held an online seminar on 'Adventuring in Early Childhood Education') the varying fortunes of early childhood education in the UK, governments' general attitudes to education and creating autonomous professional development movements.

Professor Akiyama is involved with a network of early childhood educators in the district of Yamanashi, and also working to influence the direction of the Prefecture's early childhood policy and services, and her invitation was intended to help shift thinking and practice. From my perspective it was a wonderful opportunity to test out how our work and principles would be examined by an entirely fresh group of educators, and also to begin to discover how this new-to-me culture valued children, and education.

For me, it has been extremely energising, refreshing and reassuring to encounter early childhood services - I was able to visit three centres of different types – and the network group – which weren't ground down by effects of egregious government policy.Consistently I met with happy places and people – children, educators, parents. The educators and schools were all in their different ways committed, grounded, researchful, curious and above all loving and humane with their children and their overall intents. A phrase from the UK Children's Act came to mind – 'the welfare of the children is paramount' – would that were actually the case in the UK. We have all learnt much from the encounter so far, and are motivated to continue and develop further. 

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2083 Hits

London Early Childhood Centre seeks Artist-Educator/ Atelierista

London Sightlines Network Members Little Jungle Centre of Early Childhood are looking for an Artist Educator/ Atelierista to join their 1-2s team.

"The role entails supporting the development of the children's enquiry-based projects through a variety of learning experiences, the development of documentation and collaborative work with our Educators.

We are a progressive school of Early Childhood, based in East Dulwich. Graded outstanding and shortlisted for 'best nursery 2017' by Nursery World, we follow an enquiry-based learning approach, listening to and encouraging children to explore the world and test out their own theories through play and creative expression. We use the children's research as a basis for projects to help them develop skills and knowledge across all areas of learning and enable them to become the strong, confident and free-thinking adults of the future.

This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking to grow their knowledge and experience within early years education, through a pioneering approach, as we provide ongoing opportunities for professional development, as well as a supportive, fun and friendly environment."

To know more about the role, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To know more about us, please visit:   

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1489 Hits