|Dinner in the piazza|
|REMIDA RECYCLING CENTRE|
|Remida Recycling Centre|
|It is amazing what can be constructed with material considered as rubbish.|
|It’s all about the presentation|
|One green bottle.|
|And not an egg in sight.|
|The Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factory, can you smell it?|
|It takes 16 litres (4.23 gallons) of milk to make 1 kilo of cheese!|
On visiting two Reggio Emilia schools in the past 24 hours, I cannot put it into words better than Plato!One school was a converted greenhouse the other, a house of a director that was taken over by a group of passionate women. The women managed to gain entry into the house, when in followed a beautiful butterfly, shortly afterwards it became a school and forty years later a butterfly remains the school emblem.
|One of many features in the school outdoor space|
|Materials for the children to engage with|
We watched children ages 3-5 years play, investigate, debate, record and thoroughly enjoy what they were doing.
A pair of 4 year old children were observing a tree coming into bloom, this tree had been under their surveillance for months! One suggested that the leaves of the tree grew at night, as it was more humid at night while the other argued that the leaves grew at night, as that was when magic could take place. The teacher was ready to receive all theories and allowed each child to put forward their case to back up their opinion. If necessary they would return to the others in the class to investigate further, in this case it was not necessary.
A wonderful negotiation to witness, despite not having an understanding of the language directly. With the hundred languages of children, when we really listen, we are open to understand on a new level.
No way. The hundred is there.
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach
Today’s theme the image of the child, is possibly the root of the Reggio approach.James Hillman, author of ‘Politics of Beauty’ said“Each life is formed by its unique image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny.”
We allow children to do certain things and does this work both ways?
|Name that bike!|
|International Centre Loris Malaguzzi|
The above quote was taken from a Reggio Pre-school and it was indeed a very warm welcome to Reggio today in more ways than one. Reggio Emilia is know to locals as ‘the city of people’ and today we started to get a sense of the strong community that is behind the world famous approach. What an inspiration to be amongst 400 practitioners and educators from over 40 countries, sitting together in the International Centre Loris Malaguzzi Auditorium. Loris Malaguzzi for those unfamiliar, was a 25 year old teacher with an idea that still inspires today, the founder of the Reggio Emila approach to learning.
|The entrance to the International Centre Loris Malaguzzi|
There was so much to take in today but I shall try to give you a flavour of some of the things that were discussed:-
- Schools are known referred to as ‘Building sites’ (no, not the temporary home while the classrooms are being built) a place upon which to build knowledge, explore, take risks and make mistakes.
- The child is not seen as a weak subject nor a school as a home, the child is part of planning and preparing for the days activities and a school is seen as the environment for the child to be astonished, to wonder and experience the unexpected.
- The approach is developed through collaborations with many different people and resources. One of my favourites was the Ateliers, or what we may refer to as Artists, this includes all areas of learning, the cooks for example are the ateliers of taste and flavour.
- It is a journey that started 50 years ago but they still experience the daily problems that we all experience, however, they have the shared attitude, never to give up!
Sadly, we were unable to take photographs inside the International Centre nor will we be able to take photos in the Pre-Schools. Perhaps one day you may be able to visit them yourself but in the meantime I hope this at least gives some food for thought, ideas to try and a gentle push in the direction of the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.
Considering we haven’t as yet officially started the programme, it has been a very busy day getting to know the town, and I have the aching legs to prove it, but it was worth every step. We were taken on a tour of the town by a group of kind volunteers, proud to show us around their town, and what better place to start than in the theatre. The group expanded to nearly 400 teachers and educators who have travelled from all around the world to be here. I have connected with people from America, Australia, Turkey, Belgium (and Derby)! Here is a glimpse of where it all happens.
|The only theatre curtain in the world designed and made by Children.|
|A great spot to watch both children and adults dare each other to risk the walk through the fountain, they didn’t all make it out dry!|
|This sculpture depicts the struggle both during and after WWII, which the people of Reggio Emilia went through before adopting there unique and inspiring approach to learning. Look carefully at the faces.|
Leaving Leicester city centre at 2am on a Friday night, now that was an experience in itself! After a short stop in Amsterdam (see photo above) I’ve seen enough planes for one day that I’m glad to be on solid ground and within falling distance of a bed. Oh, yes, I am now officially in Reggio Emila, did I mention it’s 19° here? Here’s a picture to prove it and give you a little flavour of the town.
|At the Guildhall in Leicester|