Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education


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Reggio Approach E-Learning

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Walking on Threads of Silk

Bicycles & Bricks, Vision & Determination ~

Online Conference set:  narratives of the real and possible in shaping education

Seminar Two: Walking on threads of Silk

Marina Castagnetti, Reggio Children

shoe 0002a“How can you measure your jumps?” asks Marina. Tomasso’s jump is four ‘feet’ long. Now Marina measures Tommaso’s jump with her foot, and it’s three ‘feet.’ Marco and Daniela jump next.Marina Castagnetti is delighted to be discussing her in-depth experiences as a teacher working closely with Loris Malaguzzi at a formative time of Reggio’s preschools.

shoe 0002bEvery time the teacher measures the jumps, they get shorter. But finally everyone discovers the trick: “your foot is bigger and it takes up more space. We have little feet.” We hope that this experience has helped the children to better understand the ambiguity.

"For those of us who have continued on the road mapped by Malaguzzi and many others, participating in the educational project with enthusiasm, hard work and creativity has always been like ‘walking on threads of silk’, keeping a fine balance and often at risk of falling, not as poetic as the quote would make it seem.
It means having the courage to take decisions even if they go against the flow, when there is a risk of making mistakes, being exposed to potential error because the situation is not clear. It means ‘avoiding opportunist and obsequious attitudes towards authority’, discussing and exchanging points of view constantly with other realities, trying to evolve from situations that appear stagnant and irresolvable."

Marina C2bMarina Castagnetti was a teacher with children aged 3 to 6 at the municipal preschool "Diana" in Reggio Emilia from 1982 to 1999.

She was part of the historical working group of the Diana school collaborating with Loris Malaguzzi and Vea Vecchi in numerous educational projects of the exhibition “The Hundred Languages of Children.” She coordinated the archives and activities of the Documentation and Educational Research Centre of the Preschools and Infant-toddler Centres of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia from 2000 to 2016, and currently participates in Reggio Children’s international consultancy and professional formation consulting projects.
reggio logo3She has participated as a speaker in numerous conferences, seminars, training courses, study days, both in Italy and abroad on the Reggio Emilia Approach (Austria, Brazil, China, South Korea, Croatia, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Germany, Japan, India, Israel, Norway, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, United States, South Africa, Sweden, Vietnam, Kuwait).

shoemeterThe focus on the project Shoe and Meter is a very rich proposal for her, as she worked intensively on this project probe at Diana Preschool with Loris Malaguzzi, and Vea Vecchi the atelierista at Diana preschool. The publication was also the first of Reggio Children’s, and so they paid particular attention to its concept and content.

It will enrich your participation to be familiar with this book, which is available from our bookshop and elsewhere.

2016 project 1These 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.'


The core frame of reference in these seminars is work of the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.   2020 is the centenary of Loris Malaguzzi’s birthday, the pedagogical teacher, psychologist and civic campaigner who worked closely throughout his life with Reggio Emilia’s emerging preschool services between 1945 - 95. Reggio’s preschools continue to be a tirelessly evolving example of an embodied vision for the future. 

We are also showcasing selected innovative educational experiences from other countries. We will consider these alternatives, in order to learn and ally with their experiences as we forge a new education for our children. 

The series culminates in a panel discussion with Peter Moss and others to consider the questions and possibilities that these generate, and the principles and directions which they imply for us. "

women's resistance 1944
building the preschool 1946 2

" It is the spring of 1945.
I hear that in a small village called Villa Cella, a few miles away from the town of Reggio Emilia, people decided to build and run a school for young children. That idea seems incredible to me! I rush there on my bike – I find women intent upon salvaging and washing pieces of brick …you have to agree that seeing an army tank, six horses and three trucks generating a school for young children is extra-ordinary. … [Reggio Emilia's] valuable (and continuing) history confirms that a new educational experience can emerge from the least expected circumstances. "
Loris Malaguzzi

the truck of the people LM summer fresco

Communicate with presenters prior to the presentations: When you register you will be given a link to write about your interests, foci, wishes, questions.

If you register before Friday 18th December these will be submitted to the various presenters. This will be helpful to them in honing their presentations and give them a sense of connection with you and your interests.

Dates, Details & Booking

Date Thursday 21st January 2021
Price £40
Member Discount 10%

Marina Castagnetti, Reggio Children

Please Note:

  • Recorded sessions: to support the participation of registrants in other time zones, we will be making recordings of the sessions available to registrants for a period of four days subsequent to the presentation.
  • We are no longer accepting registration for this event