Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education


Conferences & Seminars

(including Reggio Study visits)

Reggio Approach E-Learning

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Events Archive


                    ... to our programme for 2022.

We are just beginning to make plans in this likely very fluid year - we are looking optimistically however at possibilities.

If you are interested in discussing bespoke professional development possibilities for your centre please get in touch: via the above email.

Go HERE if you want to read about past events, presentations seminars.


The preschools of Reggio Emilia have for more than a half-century been an international beacon for educators seeking to form enlightened education.

The vision and determination of a local community to create places of warm convivial learning for their children, enriched by a tenacious, researchful vision for education is a lasting and powerful contradiction to the idea of sitting children in an  environment of passive instruction.

These are times of possibility. Amidst calls and demands to ‘return to normal’ there are many who have lost patience with the ‘old normal’ or have seen that other ways of living and learning are indeed preferable. Multitudes of educators, head teachers, parents and advocates are striving to protect and develop possibilities for educational experiences with children’s rights, wellbeing and proclivities for natural enquiry at the heart.  Internationally we can see the development of education with principles informed by the exuberant work of Reggio’s preschools.

Sunday 12th - Friday 17th June 2022

Loris Malaguzzi International Centre, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

This is a one-week study visit to learn about and be inspired by the world renowned educational approach of the preschools and infant toddler centres of Reggio Emilia.

This course will explore the key principles underpinning the Reggio approach to early childhood education including:

  • History and background
  • Creativity and expressive languages of children
  • The pedagogy of listening
  • The environment as 'the third teacher'
  • Parents as partners
  • Democratic citizenship
  • Children as the subjects of rights
  • Children and educators as researchers
  • Observation, interpretation, documentation
  • Making learning visible
  • Professional dialogue

Read on for further details and booking, including how you will receive our help and support before, during and after the study week.

Date Sunday 12th June 2022
End Date Friday 17th June 2022
Available places 51
Cut off date Friday 3rd June 2022
Price £1,560
Location/Map Reggio Emilia, Italy
Download info SI_Reggio_Study_Week_2022.pdf

We are no longer accepting registration for this event

What’s gone wrong with education and how can we fix it?

Join the progressive alliance organisation Compass on Thursday 7th April for the first of two events examining how to create the education system our children truly deserve.

why do we do that KR

Covid-19 has exposed the vast inequalities baked into the way we educate children in the UK. But there’s a whole lot more that needs changing – and most politicians don’t like talking about it.

  • Are we genuinely providing children and young people with the education they need to deal with the huge challenges ahead?
  • Are we finding the spark in every child?
  • Have schools become exam factories?
  • What do we want for our children, here and now – and for the future?

In short, what’s the point of education in the 21st century?

Joining us to discuss are this and much more are four education thinkers and doers:
• Peter Moss, Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Provision at UCL Institute of Education University College London
• Christine Merrick, former Ofsted inspector and ex headteacher with nearly fifty years’ experience in early years and primary education in the UK and abroad
• Robin Duckett, founder of Sightlines Initiative for creative practice in UK early education
• Madeleine Holt, education campaigner and filmmaker in innovative primary and secondary schools through Schools on Screen

At the event we we’ll explore:

  • The spread of GERM – the Global Education Reform Movement – throughout our system
  • Its symptoms – standardisation, market-led competition, a narrowed curriculum, and test-based accountability
  • The human cost: a burgeoning workload and unhappy staff and students

It’s time to question what’s driving education: is it the needs of children and young people, or something else entirely?

Register to join the call – and keep your eyes peeled for our second session on 19th May looking at visions, examples and solutions.

Date Thursday 7th April 2022
Price free; online registration required

• Peter Moss, Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Provision at UCL Institute of Education University College London
• Christine Merrick, former Ofsted inspector and ex headteacher
• Robin Duckett, founder of Sightlines Initiative
• Madeleine Holt, education campaigner and filmmaker

Times 6 - 7.30p.m.

We are no longer accepting registration for this event

How do children make meaning through multiple modes or ‘languages’, including the visual? How can we recognise, value and support all children’s metaphorical thinking? What can we learn about our own understanding in the process?

Stickman"Furry Stickman" - Winnie, Little Jungle School of Early ChildhoodLondon ReFocus has been considering these questions throughout a two-year project exploring ‘Visual Metaphor’, initiated as a Sightlines Network project in 2019 & inspired by a recent project focus in Reggio Emilia’s preschools and infant-toddler centres. You can read initial project descriptions and papers through following the link. 

The event will showcase some of the ongoing collaborative reflection and enquiry from early years settings in and around London. We will consider the importance of materials, environments and the adult’s role in supporting children to make visual metaphors, and what insights these can offer into children’s thinking.

 London ReFocus is part of the Sightlines Initiative Network, bringing together educators, artists, researchers and others interested in developing a creative and reflective approach to early years education, inspired by the practice of Reggio Emilia. 

All are welcome to hear about our work and we will share an invitation to join us for the next stage of the project.

Our language is full of metaphor; arguably it comprises metaphor: as educators working to attune ourselves to a way of seeing the world metaphorically, we also are working to attune ourselves to the way others see the world , and can see the word metaphorically. We are also working to figure out the ways in which we can present educational opportunities or constructs for children  in order to amplify  their potentials, to exercise their own competencies  …

Date Thursday 18th November 2021
Price free
Presenters Members of London ReFocus
Please Note: You will be sent a Zoom link upon registration, so look out for the email.
Times 4.30 - 6p.m.
Location/Map online

We are no longer accepting registration for this event

Have you always wanted to hear directly and in detail about the Reggio Emilia Approach® from Reggio Emilia’s own educators and pedagogistas; and to have the opportunity to engage in live discussion?


With Reggio Children, Reggio Emilia’s organisation dedicated to international professional development, we are collaborating to offer a friendly and live substantial online study opportunity, especially for educators and others who are relatively new to encountering Reggio Emilia’s early childhood principles and experience.

Here is advance information and special participation opportunities.

It is a full immersion in the Reggio Emilia Approach® with 20 hours of live and recorded materials and the times of live events are specifically scheduled to make it easier for those in UK and similar time zones: most of the live events will be at 4pm UK time.

This will be a Reggio Children study group with international participation.

Sightlines Initiative has a priority registration access. When you activate the 'Book' button below, your browser will open a seperate registration on Reggio Children's website. From that page, you can register.The coupon "UK2021" must be inserted at the end of the shopping cart. By using this code, you will additionally be registered to participate in supplementary November/December seminars and discussion hosted by Sightlines Initiative:

  • Listening and relationship as a foundation of practice in your setting
  • Educators reflecting and building knowledge together: seeing & working with children’s fascinations
  • Formations of children’s learning groups in an environment of enquiry.
  • along with Background and introductory articles.

These are intended to contextualise the experience of Reggio Emilia, and initiate pathways for you and your colleagues to make relational pedagogy the heart of your work with children and their families. A further programme will also be available to support the continuing evolution of your practice.

Date Friday 15th October 2021
End Date Friday 22nd October 2021
Price Euros 700
Please Note:

Download the Advance Information pdf and share with colleagues.

Location/Map online
Download info October digital Reggio Children Study Week.pdf

We are no longer accepting registration for this event

Co-constructing learning in the English EYFS - an introductory course

The English EYFS Statutory requirements have four overarching principles – unique child, positive relationships, enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their interestsand needs and help them build their learning over time.

Children and adults construct the curriculum together: practitioners….build on children’s motivations and interests to support and extend their development and learning. The curriculum is co-constructed between children, practitioners and families. Children bring funds of knowledge-based interests to the setting, and they are motivated to learn through connecting new experiences to what they already know and can do.

Birth to Five Matters 2021 p.39

This introductory four-session course focusses on working with principles and characteristics of social co-constructive early childhood education pedagogy in relationship to these statutory requirements and related non-statutory guidelines. It provides an opportunity for educators to develop their practice, expertise and capacity to build environments in which children’s learning flourishes. It is founded upon building learning environments of ENCOUNTER, ENQUIRY, EXCHANGE, EXPRESSION

encounter pic enquiry pic  exchange pic  expression pic

Using examples from Sightlines Initiative reference projects work available on the Birth to Five Matters resource library, and from our long-standing experience of the work of Reggio Emilia’s preschools, the course will discuss:

  1. Understanding and enabling co-construction;
  2. Exploring processes of enquiry;
  3. Being responsive & responsible educators;
  4. Building your reflective systems.

It is ideal for managers, nursery heads and teams of educators who are actively developing their pedagogy together.

Everybody knows that early years’ educators can be creative, critical and reflective; that young children are creative, strong, powerful learners, and that educators and children thrive in creative enabling environments … It’s very difficult to turn beliefs, values and aspirations into practice … there’s a gap between what we want to do and what actually happens. This work is designed for everybody who wants to bridge that gap.

Mary Jane Drummond, Early Childhood Education Consultant

Date Wednesday 13th October 2021
End Date Wednesday 1st December 2021
Available places 0
Cut off date Tuesday 12th October 2021
Price £140
Member Discount 10%
Group Discount

2 - 3 people = £125 p.p.

4 - 8 people = £120p.p.

Please enquire regarding larger groups. Discount is calculated during Group Registration process.


Dr. Christine Merrick

Robin Duckett

Liz Elders

Please Note:

Seminar Dates:

  • 13th October
  • 3rd November
  • 17th November
  • 1st December
  • The online platform will be Zoom: the link will be issued on the previous working day.

    You can download the information pdf below and share with colleagues.

    Times Wednesdays @ 4 - 5.30pm
    Location/Map online
    Download info Learning is What We Do Together - introduction to co-constructive edn in EYFS 2021.pdf

    Sorry, the event is now full and we could not accept more registration

    Sukhomlinsky with children

    Vasily Sukhomlinsky was a Ukrainian school teacher. From 1948 to 1970 he was the principal of a combined primary and secondary school in the rural settlement of Pavlysh. His school was made famous through his many books and articles, which have been read by millions. Thousands of educators, from the length and breadth of the Soviet Union and beyond, travelled to see his school with their own eyes, and millions of educators around the world have been inspired by his example.
    Sukhomlinsky was born in the middle of a civil war, and survived the famine known by Ukrainians as the Holodomor. He was nearly killed on the battlefield during the Second World War, and his first wife and child were brutally killed by a Gestapo officer, aided and abetted by local collaborators. He could easily have become an embittered man, but he found a catharsis for his suffering through his work as a teacher and his love for children.
    Working in very difficult circumstances, he created a model school, and a holistic educational theory to support it. Those of you familiar with the educational philosohy of Reggio Emilia's Loris Malaguzzi will find much in common.

    For two years before they join the compulsory school program, I work with little children in a preparatory group. I would call this period a school in curiosity. This is first and foremost an educator making contact with a child’s brain, which is so plastic and responsive during the preschool years. The main method employed in making this contact is to inspire children with wonder and amazement. The main instrument is a teacher’s words, and the main form of activity is excursions to the source of thought and language, in the midst of the inexhaustible richness of nature.
    My aim is that a growing curiosity should become an autonomous force, governing the interests and aspirations of children.
    If I manage to establish curiosity as an inextinguishable flame, I know that children will never lack ability.

    butterflyYuliya Kiva (16) illustrating Sukhomlinsky's tale 'Morning Breeze'

    This special session is led by Dr. Alan Cockerill, in Brisbane Australia (hence our choice of time.) Alan is translator of many of Sukhomlinsky's works, and collaborates with Sukhomlinsky's daughter Professor Olga Sukhomlyns’ka.

    To our knowledge this is the first presentation to a UK audience (we hope worldwide) of the work of this remarkable educator, from whom there is much to learn in our ongoing challenges to build humane and creative education.

    You can access on our website e-versions of Sukhomlinsky's book 'My Heart I Give to Children' and Dr. Cockerill's biography of Sukhomlinsky  'Each One Must Shine.' They give immense food for thought and action for any conscientious educator or parent today. 

    Registrants will be sent further introductory material, in order to make best use of this precious time, and we welcome participants' questions before the session: registrants will be invited to submit questions. 

    Date Saturday 2nd October 2021
    Price £35
    Member Discount £5
    Presenters Dr. Alan Cockerill, Brisbane
    Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making a recording of this session available to registrants.
  • The online platform will be Zoom: the link will be issued on the previous working day.
  • Times 9.30 - 11a.m.
    Location/Map online

    We are no longer accepting registration for this event

    Learning to Live Well Together ~

    investigating the shaping of education from ethics of relationship & listening.

    Seminar Six: Te Whariki: A woven mat which empowers the child

    Dr. Lesley Rameka, Waikato, New Zealand

    The whāriki or woven mat is a metaphor for New Zealand's ECE curriculum, in which four curriculum principles are interwoven with five curriculum strands: 




    Whāriki  have symbolic and spiritual meaning for Māori. Weaving a whāriki takes knowledge, skill and time. It is almost always done collaboratively.  In Māori tradition children are seen to be inherently competent, capable and rich, complete and gifted no matter what their age or ability. Descended from lines that stretch back to the beginning of time, they are important living links between past, present and future, and a reflection of their ancestors. These ideas are fundamental to how Māori understand teaching and learning.

    Picture2In Te Whāriki children are positioned as confident and competent learners from birth. They learn by engaging in meaningful interactions with people, places and things – a process that continues throughout their lifetimes; they are valued as active learners who choose, plan, and challenge. This stimulates a climate of reciprocity, ‘listening’ to children (even if they cannot speak), observing how their feelings, curiosity, interest, and knowledge are engaged in their early childhood environments, and encouraging them to make a contribution to their own learning.

    This influential and culturally-grounded policy work, published originally in 1996, wove a new story of possibilities for children, families, educators and society, going against the grain of prior, narrower expectations. 

    Lesley profile circleDr. Lesley Rameka was instrumental in the 2017 edition of the national policy, working closely across cultures, and presents its core ethics and values. Lesley is a Senior Research Fellow at the Wilf Malcom Institute of Educational Research, and Poutama Pounamu Māori Education Research Centre at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and president of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand.  She is a kaupapa Maori researcher, who developed kaupapa Maori assessment for learning resources in early years, was a member of the group updating the early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki in 2017, and has done research in kohanga reo, Maori bilingual centres and general ECE centres over a long period of time. She brings new insights on ethics, relationships and formative experiences of Te Whariki from a Maori perspective.

    Date Thursday 16th September 2021
    Price £40
    Member Discount 10%

    Dr. Lesley Rameka, Waikato, New Zealand

    Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making a recording of this session available to registrants.
  • The online platform will be Zoom: the link will be issued on the previous working day.
  • Times 7 - 8.30pm (U.K. time)
    Location/Map online

    We are no longer accepting registration for this event

    Learning to Live Well Together ~

    investigating the shaping of education from ethics of relationship & listening.

    Seminar Five: Education for Happiness

    Dr. Satish Kumar, UK

    The current educational system was designed to meet the needs of the Industrial Age - the age of mass production, mass consumption and unlimited economic growth.

    Young people were trained in whatever skills were required by the market. This was education for jobs rather than education for life. Any of the jobs for which the students were trained led to the demise in biodiversity and the increase of carbon emissions which cause climate catastrophe.

    We are entering a new era, an era of the environment. So we need a new system of education which can respond to our times and can help to develop a regenerative culture.

    The present educational system looks at nature and sees it as a resource for the economy. Thus, nature becomes a means to an end: the ‘end’ of economic growth. Human beings are also considered a resource for the economy. We call them “human resources”. Thus, people become a means to an end.

    Our education system in the modern Western world is not education, and it is not happy. It’s a mis-education. We don’t even encourage children to imagine. Imagination is missing. If you can’t imagine, you can’t make, you can’t feel. The knowledge of ecology and of our human dependence on nature have been exiled from the mainstream educational process. As a result, ecology and economy have been separated. Education of this kind is detrimental to social cohesion and disconnects people from the natural world. This is a great tragedy.

    My idea of education is that we go out in the world not to serve ourselves, but to serve the earth, serve the people in the service of the earth. Then earth will look after us and our needs. We are in the service of the earth caring for the earth, looking out for the environment, not polluting, not wasting, not destroying, not undermining, not undervaluing.

    Kumar BookEducation should involve educational head, educational, heart, and educational hands. At the moment, our education mainly is of head: thinking, analysing, information - knowledge a little bit, but mostly: ‘information.’ That should be complemented with experience, and experience comes by feeling: heart and by making: hands.

    Educational head, educational hearts educational hands: these three hand-in-hand can renew education. Every school should ask, from the start: how we are going to cultivate our feelings? How are we going to get compassion for each other? How are we going to be compassionate for the earth? How are we to create compassion for humanity? How do we respect each other, how do we have kindness in our heart, how do we love each other? How love nature?

    We need nature friendly education: education as if people and planet matter.

    We need to engage in the study and understanding of the intricate web of life and ask: “What is a healthy and regenerative relationship between humans and nature?”

    Every school must have a garden .. a permaculture garden, an organic garden, where will know and learn how to cultivate, how to plant trees, how to grow orchards, fruit, vegetables, greens and energy, and how to do store water, how to cultivate a food, but how also, how to harvest sunlight and energy. It’s a complete cycle of energy and food and our selves.

    It is also an education for happiness.


    Peace-pilgrim, life-long activist and former monk, Satish Kumar has been inspiring global change for over 50 years. Aged 9, Satish renounced the world and joined the wandering Jain monks. Inspired by Gandhi, he decided at 18 that he could achieve more back in the world and soon undertook a peace-pilgrimage, walking without money from India to America in the name of nuclear disarmament. Now in his 80s, Satish has devoted his life to campaigning for ecological regeneration, social justice and spiritual fulfilment.

    Satish founded Schumacher College as well as The Resurgence Trust, an educational charity that seeks a just future for all. To join Satish in protecting people and planet, become a member of Resurgence (with 20% off), entitling you to this charity’s change-making magazine, Resurgence & Ecologist.

    Satish appears regularly on podcasts, radio and television shows. He has been interviewed by Richard Dawkins, Russell Brand and Annie Lennox, appearing as a guest on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Thought for the Day and Midweek. Satish presented an episode of BBC2's Natural World documentary series, which was watched by 3.6 million people. An acclaimed international speaker and author, Satish’s autobiography sold over 50,000 copies, inspiring change around the world.

    Founder: Small School, Hartland; Human Scale Education; Resurgence magazine; Schumacher College

    Author: No Destination;  You Are, Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence; The Buddha and the Terrorist; Earth Pilgrim; Soil, Soul, Society and Elegant Simplicity.

    Hon Doctorates: Law (Plymouth; Literature (Lancs); General Doctorate (Suffolk.) Oxfam Ambassador; vice-president RSPCA

    Date Tuesday 14th September 2021
    Price £40
    Member Discount 10%

    Dr. Satish Kumar, UK

    Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making a recording of this session available to registrants.
  • The online platform will be Zoom: the link will be issued on the previous working day.
  • Times 4 - 5.30pm
    Location/Map online

    We are no longer accepting registration for this event