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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.
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"Children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity."

George Monbiot, author and environmentalist

"When they are allowed to apply their natural creativity and curiosity, children love learning. They learn to walk, to talk, to eat and to play spontaneously, by watching and experimenting. Then they get to school, and we suppress this instinct by sitting them down, force-feeding them with inert facts and testing the life out of them.

There is no single system for teaching children well, but the best ones have this in common: they open up rich worlds that children can explore in their own ways, developing their interests with help rather than indoctrination."

In the midst of organising a presentation day  in which we will be demonstrating just such principles, we've been alerted to this article of today by Mr. Monbiot. 

Do read it, it is a very cogent and pertinent article. He also references Reggio Emilia, as a place to look to as an example.

And - join us on our Networks Showcase Day in London, on 4 March, in which early childhood educators from London and around the Midlands will be presenting their current endeavours to create places really fit for children's learning and curiosity.

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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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The Leaning Tower of PISA?

Or 'A War of the Worlds' Or 'Compare and Contrast'?

I'm following up Tuesday's Diary item with an illustrative selection from this week's UK news and related papers about current  UK Education policy 'leanings' and plans (with links to sources):

"British (actually English) school children could be guinea pigs for controversial new tests being described as a "pre-school PISA" for five-year-olds, despite other nations rejecting the trials. The move is disclosed in a contract document published quietly earlier this month by the Department for Education. "  The Daily Telegraph 31 January 2017

WHAT IS 'the pre-school PISA', you ask? Here is a briefing paper (extract)  from Prof. Peter Moss:

"Since its first outing in 2000, the Programme for International Student Assessment, widely known as PISA, has become highly influential in the education policy world with its three-yearly assessment of 15-year-olds in a growing number of countries around the world. Now the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) is moving on to new ground, with plans well advanced for an international assessment of early learning outcomes among young children. …

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