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Our parents campaign colleagues are making this appeal to the Secretary of State for Education - do please support this campaign: it is an important step in the broad efforts to achieve an education fit for human imagination and enquiry.
"We believe that the DfE is damaging the mental health of children through its excessive testing and is devaluing education by promoting rote learning of age-inappropriate grammatical concepts.
If we do not suspend tests this year then we are setting our children up to fail by forcing them to be part of a system that does not consider them individuals, but instead data on a page to be analysed.
We are creating children who are stifled and demotivated due to continuous and unnecessary teaching to the test. We are setting schools up to fail and leaving them open to academisation ...
We want teachers, unions and mental health experts to be able to work together with the Government to create a curriculum that encourages our children to develop inquiring minds and a love of learning.
This takes time... We are very concerned that adequate time has not been taken in the current political climate to ensure another assessment 'car crash' does not take place in 2017."
Read their full statement and sign their petition HERE.
Shortly before Christmas 2015, the Parliamentary Education Committee announced that they would address the question: 'What are the purposes and desirable qualities of education?'. Fantastic. We contributed, (see Diary article) and attended their conference. It has all now gone very quiet.
But not outside of Westminster.
We were delighted to find that a coalition is emerging, and we are now members. It is called 'More Than a Score' and its campaign is to re-enliven education. It too is addressing the question 'what are the purposes and desirable qualities of education': and it is a group of determined organisations and people.
At MTAS 2016 conference, author Tanya Landman posed the question "Are we in sinister territory? Do politicians actively want to switch children off from learning, from thinking for themselves?"
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'.
Book now! Ring 0191 261 7666 if you have particular queries.