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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.
We have a Library View (see left column) to help you find past articles.

Diving into marvellous worlds, and the power of expression

I caught this morning on the radio a snatch of conversation between an author and a painter.

They were extolling wonders of the world, and the delicacies of representing them in words and images; thinking of the fascination with edges, other-worlds, human experience and communication, 'thinking hands.' I heard a brief sentence or two, but it struck so many chords with how creative educators are striving to connect with children's imaginative worlds and 'hundred languages', and create worthwhile educational environments in which children can relish them.

It was such an inspiring lift: I discovered that the two were Robert Macfarlane and Norman Ackroyd (surprise and delight!)

"The landscape painter and print-maker Norman Ackroyd meets the writer Robert Macfarlane.

Norman, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year, invites Robert to his studio in Bermondsey, London. They discuss their fascination with wild landscapes and islands, and how they attempt to come to a deeper understanding of place. They also share their thoughts on their working methods: for Norman, printmaking is like writing music - trying to capture and fix light and weather. For Robert, writing is a strange and solitary process: he reflects on the rhythm of prose and reads his latest "selkie" or seal-folk song.

Norman has been etching and painting for seven decades, with a focus on the British landscape - from the south of England to the most northerly parts of Scotland. His works are in the collections of leading museums and galleries around the world.

Robert has written widely about the natural world: his book The Old Ways is a best-selling exploration of Britain's ancient paths. Last year he published The Lost Words, a collaboration with the artist Jackie Morris, in which they aimed to bring nearby nature – the animals, trees and plants from our landscapes – back into the lives and stories of Britain's children." (BBC) 

 Here is the 'listen again' link: I hope that you will also find his inspiring and remindful of what is important for us as educators, in our quests to create heartening educational approaches, and to all children. (If the link doesn't work for you, do email me, as I downloaded the file.)

Brilliant sparks: In reading up today, I've found that Macfarlane & Morris' book has inspired at least 17 crowdfunding campaigns to make the book freely available in schools, and the John Muir Trust has made an Explorers Guide to the book. It's so heartening, isn't it, when popular actions like these are inspired by  heartfelt connections and beautiful expression?

[images from Norman Ackroyd's website; BBC; Amazon]



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302 Hits

Project Narrative - Dogs, Bones & Dancing - * FREE TO DOWNLOAD *

Are you looking for ways in which your children can explore their world through music and movement?

This slideshow/video summarises our 2-year project with a nursery and primary school in Kendal. Discover what we did, what we learned, what obstacles we faced and how the children engaged.

Production has been supported by Youth Music, and so we are able to make this free to download.

"Dogs, Bones and Dancing richly expands the story I have been trying to understand, in two ways.
First, it is clear that, for each of these three-to-five-year-olds, the growing vitality of a human body with its many clever parts has become a thrilling adventure.
Secondly, this life adventure is one to be explored in play with companions who love to share the energy and grace of moving, and the new stories it tells.
Such advances in cleverness with cultural understanding depend on the vitality of natural self-expression, and the enjoyment of co-creating with others in making actions and memories meaningful and productive of common good."
Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, Edinburgh

We hope you will enjoy meeting the children, the educators, their ideas and explorations and learning, and reading the accompanying Commentary by Colwyn Trevarthen, Professor (Emeritus) of Child Psychology and Psychobiology, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh

  426 Hits
426 Hits

In the Spirit of the Studio : Summer reading new in stock

Hello, we've received new stock of this most useful book. Here below is a detailed review by a network member.The bookshop link is at tthe bottom of the article.


"This is an inspirational book which clearly documents different stories, projects, challenges and ideas by educators, from both Reggio Emilia and North America, on the prominence of the atelier space within the schools. Examples are given from American schools inspired by the unique and creative philosophies and practices of the Reggio Emilia preschools, alongside articles and quotes from renowned creative thinkers such as Vea Vecchi, Carla Rinaldi and Loris Malaguzzi who have been key figures in the growth of the Reggio Emilia approach. In the Spirit of the Studio: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia is beautifully illustrated making visible the learning processes from both children and adults."

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  3400 Hits
3400 Hits