~ identifying and maximising the scope in the DfE 2020 ‘Development Matters’ for renewing professionalism and pedagogical culture ~
An online conversation between Sightlines Initiative Network members representing centres in the private, maintained and voluntary sectors, FE/HE colleges, plus early years colleague Jan Dubiel, who played a significant part in creating the new guidance document.
The new Development Matters is ‘thinner’ than previous documents which have constrained professionalism by over-programmatization. Our premiss is that there is an opportunity to seize in the thinness, in that the spaces give room for developing a new depth of pedagogical culture by individual settings that are researchful and motivated. Our aim is to identify where there are breathing spaces to work professionally and researchfully, without defending against hidebound strictures.
There is equal need and scope for FE and HE colleges to provide course experiences which nurture professionalism in educators – especially in being researchful. We recognise that currently much recent initial professional formation has been competency-based, matching the recent highly structured ‘programmes of learning’ which have been produced by government departments. As a result many educators (practitioners) and managers are not geared up to inhabit these ‘spaces for growth’ - they may feel empty and unnerving, creating a yearning for ‘old certainties’ and comprehensive manuals.
Undoubtedly there are criticisms and concerns about languages or aspects of the document, and we can recognise and note these at the outset without dwelling on them unduly, unless they present fundamental challenges. The main point is to articulate the ways in which so-inclined centres can wholeheartedly move into evolving researchful pedagogy, and the opportunities for FE/HE course leaders to produce formative courses which support this professionalism.
This first conversation is open to attendance online by others, who will also have opportunities to contribute thoughts and comments.
|Date||Thursday 3rd December 2020|
|Member Discount||Free to members, but it is open to all.|
Jan Dubiel, EY educator & consultant, DfE/QCA lead
Chris Merrick –past EY advisor & inspector, chair of governors, SI consultant, past early years centre lead
Louise Lowings – past EY advisor, current head of Madeley Nursery School, Telford
Jackie Warren – CEO, Growing Places nursery centres, Portsmouth
Rebecca Webb – education lecturer, University of Sussex
Diane Gregory, Manager, Childsplay Nursery, Newcastle
Robin Duckett, early years educator, founder/director, Sightlines Initiative
Caroline El-Semman, director, Little Jungle School of Early Childhood
|Times||4 - 5.30pm|
Online Conference set: narratives of the real and possible in shaping education
These are times of possibility. Amidst calls and demands to ‘return to normal’ there are also 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 also develop possibilities for educational experiences with children’s rights, wellbeing and proclivities for natural enquiry at the heart.
This online conference set of seminars is designed to nourish all those who are actively promoting and creating these ‘visions of the possible.'
|Date||Monday 26th October 2020|
|End Date||Friday 30th October 2020|
|Member Discount||10% (If you are not a member, you can go to Our Work/Network Membership for more info.)|
Monday 26th October 10a.m. 'Loris Malaguzzi's pedagogical influence and contemporary importance.' Professor Peter Moss, University College London
Monday 26th October 2p.m. 'Walking on Threads of Silk.' Marina Castagnetti, Reggio Children, Italy
Wednesday 28th October 10a.m. 'The Women and the Schools of Reggio Emilia.' Professor Sabine Lingenauber & Janina L. von Niebelschütz, University of Fulda, Germany
Wednesday 28th October 2p.m. 'How Does Learning Happen? - Ontario's vision for education’ Karyn Callaghan & Kelly Massaro-Joblin, Ontario Reggio Association, Canada
Friday 30th October 10a.m. 'Democratic alternatives in education: Provocations from the Portuguese Modern School Movement.' Dr. Diana Sousa, University College London
Friday 30th October 2p.m. 'Truths and Transformation – where now and how?' Panel and Discussion with Peter Moss, Karyn Callaghan and others.
This session will explore the concept of ‘languages of evaluation’ – the idea that there are many different ways of understanding and conducting evaluation, and not just evaluation as ‘performance management’, a language that is very dominant today.
In particular, we will consider what language of evaluation can do justice to a complex and distinct pedagogical project, for example, that of the municipal schools of Reggio Emilia or many of the Children’s Centres in England, in a way that embodies the value of participatory democracy, and supports researchful education.
Peter Moss, from UCL Institute of Education, will share some of his preliminary thinking about this challenge; while Louise Lowings, from Madeley Nursery School, will share some examples from current practice that have evolved from a two year international research project in early childhood centres.
There will be time for questions and discussion about this vital subject.
Documentation as a tool for assessment/evaluation gives us an extremely strong 'antibody' to a proliferation of assessment/evaluation tools which are more and more anonymous, decontextualised and only apparently objective and democratic.
Carla Rinaldi, President of Reggio Children Foundation
|Date||Wednesday 21st October 2020|
Professor Peter Moss
|Times||4 - 5.30pm|
This online session is for Sightlines Initiative Network members and settings to reconnect, share journeys, and current planning in this ongoing time of global health crisis.
What a strange time this has been and is!
There have been so many challenges to the early years sector both financial and emotional big decisions had to be made. Was it safe to open? How could we keep safe but also still be here at the end of all this? How could we support our children at home? How could we stay connected?
Log in first in order to register - see 'Community Login' at the left of the webpage.
|Date||Wednesday 7th October 2020|
|Please Note:||This is a free session for Sightlines Initiative Network members|
|Times||1.30pm - 3pm|
In this session we will considering our ideas of play – what is it? what is it for? who determines this? – to focus on playfulness. The basis for this will be an exploration of children’s naturally playful learning and how this compares with adults’ constructs about play.
Adults who begin by closely considering children’s feelings associated with playfulness are far better placed to be insightful in their provision of dynamic learning environments.
- look at how we can foster playfulness and creativity through our relationships and ways of being with children
- explore playful possibilities within the learning environments we create, and
- discuss the value of developing our own playfulness to work in reciprocal, playful ways with children.
This seminar is organised in collaboration with House of Imagination, of which our guest presenter Dr. Karen McInnes is an associate.
Dr Karen McInnes has a background in working with children as a speech and language therapist, early years teacher, play therapist. Her PhD focused on play and playfulness in young children, and she continues to research, write and present on play and playfulness.
|Date||Tuesday 6th October 2020|
|Presenters||Dr. Karen McInnes|
|Times||4 - 5.30pm|
Our profession needs to be researchful, and connected with its libraries of evolving thinking, research and knowledge.
The last 33 years or so (in the UK), exemplify the blank slate model of teacher and educator development.
The trouble started in 1987. In the years before the (UK) Education Act of 1987, by and large, teachers did their own thinking, turning to a variety of sources to enrich their understanding and help them make a case for their principled pedagogical decisions. But soon after the arrival of the DES National Curriculum document, the first signs of professional amnesia appeared in our midst. Slowly but surely teachers began to act as if professional knowledge were only to be found in glossy ring folders, training packs and videos and all manner of other pronouncements from politically-led authorities.
[from Mary Jane Drummond, Professional Amnesia, Refocus Journal 2008]
Transformative change requires attention to pedagogical as well as structural principles….we have the good fortune, in evolving pedagogical principles and educational action, of a rich tradition of educational thought and experience. We must take full advantage of the invaluable cultural heritage represented by the thought and work of past pedagogues such as Froebel, Dewey, McMillan, Isaacs, Freinet, Freire and Malaguzzi.
Drawing on these cultural reserves, as well as the intelligence and expertise of today’s practitioners, a pedagogical transformation can be embarked upon, turning away from a culture of targets [and] measurement.
[from Peter Moss, Transforming Early Childhood in England 2020]
In this session we will be reflecting on the contributions of some of the recent giants of educational thinking so that we can better articulate and explain the beliefs and understandings that can and ought to underpin our practice. We will examine a range of perspectives developed through the last century, so that we can draw on these in the choices we make for children and to tell a better story about the nature of education, based on the way young children learn rather than on the target-driven instincts of politics.
We will provide participants with further reading and references, to continue your encounters ....
|Date||Tuesday 29th September 2020|
|Speaker||Dr. Christine Merrick|
|Times||4 - 5.30 pm|
A one-hour online session to introduce the principles of 'Learning to Learn in Nature'. It is for all early years and primary educators who want to engage in creating investigative learning opportunities and develop thier reflective. creative pedagogy.
Learning to Learn in Nature is about young children learning in wild places, and educators learning with them. It is about being in connection with nature and bringing that connection back to the classroom. But it is also about something more, something that is seen very clearly when children are given the freedom to explore the wild outdoors on their own terms, with daring and imagination.
It is about learning as a process of continuous enquiry: an expression of insatiable fascination with the world, in which children learn together and individually, and educators and children work together to discover and make meaning. School life is part of human life, connected to its cycles, desires, dreams, wonderings. Educators best meet the interests of children when fundamental human values inform and shape their pedagogical practice.
During October 2020 - March 2021 we will be offerring a five-session online course - this September session will introduce the contents.
|Date||Thursday 17th September 2020|
|Presenters||Robin Duckett, Catherine Reding, Elizabeth Elders|
|Times||4 - 5pm|
An invitation to explore an education of co-enquiry, humanity and relationship, from Directors of Sightlines Initiative, Robin Duckett and Liz Elders alongside Dr Penny Hay, Director of Research, House of Imagination, Research Fellow and Reader in Creative Teaching and Learning at Bath Spa University.
Our organisations are grounded in the awareness of the potentials of all children as innately creative, ready and eager to explore and make sense of the world. They have the right to expect an education which recognises that.
In the spirit of opening doorways for interest, we will be presenting examples from our portfolios which illustrate how we are working to demonstrate ‘environments of enquiry’ and how we can co-construct an education based on these principles, rather than from the dominant performance-led agenda of treating children as empty vessels to be instructed and tested.
There will be opportunities for reflection and discussion as part of the one-hour session.
|Date||Thursday 9th July 2020|
|Cut off date||Thursday 9th July 2020|
|Presenters||Robin Duckett, Dr Penny Hay, Elizabeth Elders|
|Times||4 - 5pm|