Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education

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2020-21 Conferences & Seminars

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Reggio Approach E-Learning

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Here are the main focus areas we plan to work on in the coming times. 

Educational vision into the public sphere

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2019 20 SI public facing intents

Public Projects

Click on the titles to view details on each.

  • Hundred Languages poem Celebration Reading
    Our project-invitation for a celebratory reading of Malaguzzi's poem. The aim is to draw interest and attention to 'the bigger picture' of attainable visions for education in the UK. " Malaguzzi's poem 'The Hundred Languages ...' begs for us to think about learning and teaching in its poetic and complex figurations and not in the reductionist, binary or quantitative formats that are currently normalising the landscape of education.
    In the UK we are in danger of being tied into thinking about education as something that is wholly measurable and quantifiable, where children's learning is reduced to simplified percentage points on a scale of normalcy." Debi Keyte-Hartland (read article)

    The project is a door-opener to bigger actions, such as hosting an exhibit from Reggio Emilia (see below) and related awareness-raising and professional development work.. We have an invitation letter here, through which network members can approach potential readers. (If you are not a network member, but would like to suggest a reader, please get in touch via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

    [network members log in to read more and participate]

  • Around the world, there are fantastic visions of how education can be, arising from supporting the intrinsic inclination of humans to engage and inquire, from the moments of birth. In the UK these visions are swamped by a very 'flat' idea - that 'education' is simply a regime in which facts are to be learned and drilled in an efficient way. We want to create a campaign in which the alternative reality can by championed - that learners are not simple passive fact-swallowers, and learning should not be constructed as if they were.  Following on from initial conversations, and involving fellow organisations such as More Than a Score, Let Kids Be Kids, Early Education, we aim to create a media campaign and public online resource library of examples, with broad contribution.
  • Communicating - Principles and Language
    1. We need to connect broadly- inside and outside the educational sphere - with those who are unhappy with the current way that education is regarded and controlled.
    2. We want to be able to offer the alternatives which are available, in order to inspire the debate/campaign.
    3. We know that the language which is used on the various sides of the argument is inadequate and often geared simply to `improving the quality’ as if that were an objective entity with no value judgement.
    Whereas we know that there are massive and differing value judgements at play which are not brought into discussion. One of the hindrances is that the issues are complex ( prioritising different paradigms , including how we see and function in the world, and society’s view of that) yet the language is often unhelpfully simply advocating ‘more of’, ‘excellent’ ‘best’ etc.
    A first job is to attempt to resolve some of the language/presentation shortcomings: in our case starting with Sightlines Initiative Principles e.g. * and having an interrogative conversation (e.g. in a focus group) to test and improve communicability.
    * https://www.sightlines-initiative.com/principles-introductory-video

    See Sightlines Initiative blog: https://www.sightlines-initiative.com/parents-views/let-s-stand-up-out-of-the-box.html

    [network members log in to read more and participate]

  • Reggio Approach Exhibit

    This is an ambitious project along the lines of exhibition/advocacy projects which have been so successful in previous years, in drawing public and professional attention to the example of the public early childhood education of Reggio Emilia - and also to the possibility and need for  similar approaches in the UK. We will need to lead into this by awareness-raising projects such as those indicated above. The project requires thorough resourcing, but the evidence is that the rewards will be great.

    Here are reports from Boston and Toronto, from their hosting of the exhibit: https://www.sightlines-initiative.com/diary/the-wonder-of-learning-in-boston-usa.html 

    Click to download introductory flyer

Network professional formation work

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2019 20 SI educator facing intents

Network Projects

Click on the titles to view details on each.

  • Working with Visual Metaphor

    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  …
    How could this research action focus inspire the ongoing evolution and detail of construction of pedagogy in Sightlines Initiative Network centres?

    We are proposing a common research project, beginning with adults thinking and working together in this and similar ways, and then proposing environments, questions and enquiries with their classes and groups of children.

    This proposal is inspired by the project ‘A Festive Thought – visual metaphor in children’s learning processes. constructed and curated by Reggio Emilia colleagues. (The link is to Reggio's Rechild Winter 2018 magazine, which features their project.

  • Languages of Evaluation

    Network Proposal: Languages of Evaluation, Actions of Re-cognition

    Education is in an era of intense external scrutiny, a scrutiny typically motivated and seen from eyes with interests other than that of education – ‘global competitiveness’, party-political positioning, social engineering, etc – and it is done almost exclusively using testing and scoring indexes from these positions. The contests between ‘policy’ and education’ are particularly intense at the moment, but it is an ongoing dissonance. The situation is likely to continue so long as ‘education policy’ remains in the increasingly autocratic hands of those with other interests, isolated from educational science. Chris Merrick's article on the Bold Beginnings controversy, and Peter Moss' position piece which she references, are strong representations of the issue. There are many other voices being raised in contest. An enormous amount of energy and intelligence is being devoted to promote and defend basic understandings and principles of education.

    Promote, Defend, Illustrate, Evolve

    Whilst actively participating in promotion and defence, it is urgent to develop our own evaluative practice. We need to understand, illustrate, evolve. And it is not possible to use languages and tools of evaluation foisted on us by mindsets and interests coming out of the realms of economic interest (PISA, baby PISA, Heckman - see quote, etc. At the very least, these external ‘measuring initiatives’ do not contribute anything useful to enriching pedagogy or children’s experiences; at their worst, we find education reduced to ‘teaching to the test.’

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  • We are proposing a trans-national series of presentations and discussions based on network members developing pedagogy in respect of Reggio Emilia's characteristics as described in its key publication 'Indications.'
  • Publications
    We are currently working on a book about the educational work of Mabel Barker, an outstanding educational pioneer of the 1930's who is largely unknown. We think she has much to say to educators at this time, when children need us to be strong , grounded and connected. This work is due out in the early autumn. We are also working on various publications from the reserches and work of network groups, which will be available online.
  • Are you in the geographic areas of either Cambridgexhire or the Souch Coast of England (Central)? We are discussing with organising groups the establishment of new  Sightllines Initiative regional networks - do get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more

The page continues for network members, with further papers and participation details:

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