Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Where is Reggio?

When I tell folks about where Kelley and I are going, I am often met with, "Where is Reggio Emilia, Italy?" Here is a map to show you. Use the the keys at the upper left side of the map to enlarge, shrink or manipulate the map. This region of Italy is called the Reggio Emilia Romagna region. Within this region, some of the cities you will find are Parma, Modena, Bologna, Ravenna and Reggio Emilia. Reggio Emilia is marked with the red "A" marker.

View Larger Map

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Hundred Languages of Children

A parent recently shared that she wanted to know more about the "Hundred Languages of children", a phrase coined by Loris Malaguzzi, founder of Reggio preschools, recognizing the infinite potential of children and the methods in which they express themselves. Here are his inspirational words:

The Hundred Languages

No way. The hundred is there.

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.

They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

-Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Questions from the Community

Susan and I have been asking members of our school community what they would like to know from our Reggio visit. Here are a few questions:

*What is the length of day, week, year of school in Reggio? What is the flow of their day and maximum age of the children? What are class sizes and group sizes?

*What type of education system exists in Italy after preschool?

*How do teachers balance the goals of a child-centered project approach while making sure the children get the exposure they need to materials and other concepts so they are ready for kindergarten?

*How do teachers communicate their project decisions to the parents?

*What is the approach to dealing with sibling rivalry?

*How do you do project work with the youngest children? (How can we do project work with 2 and 1/2 year olds, 2 days a week?)

*In what ways do they involve, include and communicate with parents?

*What do the Italians value about school?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grab a good book...

Kelley and I would like to invite you to read along with us. The school now owns all of the suggested reading material and it will be available to you in our BHCP library very soon.

The reading has been very inspiring and enlightening.

In Shoe and Meter the narrator expresses, "Children produce many theories and hypothesis for interpreting reality but often remain unexpressed because they aren't listened to." This book is about a small group of 5-year-olds who wish to have a new table made identical to the one in their studio. The students expressed their desire for the table and the teachers listened. A carpenter was invited to come. And the children took on the job of providing the carpenter with measurements. The book documents their journey of how they came to their results, ultimately a new table. The story is very interesting. One might ask, why didn't the teacher jump in and tell them what tool to use and how to use it. But, here the children are encouraged to be problem solvers, collaborators, thinkers, experimenters, theorizers and more. For the students and teachers, it is about the process of solving a problem. It is how they came to have the matching table not about the matching table.

The Little Ones of Silent Movies is very insightful. The children in this book are very young. They are not speaking yet. However, they, like all children are very expressive. The teachers study the children to understand their interests. The teachers collaborate to discuss their observations. They discover that there is a common interest among them. The teachers continue to plan to create situations involving fish. The teachers continue to study their expressions and reactions. These children and their relationships are the stars of the Silent Movies.

The Black Rubber Column offers a very interesting journey. In February the children recognize the columns in their school as needing identities and diversity. They spend time creating "clothes for columns". The children were very interested by some rubber and cutting shapes from the rubber. They worked and reworked ideas, learning with each success and mistake. The ideas they expressed and experimented with were documented and discussed. The columns were on display in May. While the result is beautiful, the really important part of this story is the process that the children experienced to arrive at the objective.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bibliography for Reggio Summer Institute

The following books are suggested reading for the Summer Institute and are housed in the BHCP Parent-Teacher Education Library:

The Hundred Languages of Children, Ablex, 1998.
Making learning visible, Reggio Children, 2001.
In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia, Routledge, 2005.
Beyond quality in early childhood education and care, Routledge, 1999.
The Diary of Laura, Readleaf Press, 2008.
The Little Ones of Silent Movies, Reggio Children, 1996.
The Park is…, Reggio Children, 2008.
We write shapes that look like a book, Reggio Children, 2008.
The Fountains, Reggio Children, 1995.
Shoe and Meter, Reggio Children, 1997.
Theatre Curtain, Reggio Children, 2002.
Charter of the City and Childhood Councils, Reggio Children, 2003.
Children, Art, artists, Reggio Children, 2004.
Dialogues with places, Reggio Children, 2008.
Browsing through ideas, Reggio Children, 2009.
The black rubber column, Reggio Children, 2009.
The Languages of Food, Reggio Children, 2008.

Communication from Reggio Children, June 8, 2010

"We are entering in touch with you again in order to share some further information regarding the First International Summer School and its organization.

At the moment there are 136 people enrolled coming from almost 30 different countries of the world, such as: Australia, Usa, Nigeria, New Zealand, Turkey, Austria, Lebanon, Uk, Sweden, Greece, Canada, Mexico, France, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Guatemala, Brazil, Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Iceland, China, Germany, The Netherlands, South Korea, Israel, Jordan, India.

We are very pleased we will have a variety of professional profiles (educators, directors of schools and centres, professors, early childhood consultants, atelieristas, etc.) and so many countries represented. We believe the diversified composition of this group will be an important resource for all the participants to sustain the opportunity for exchanging experiences, points of view, impressions, reflections, understandings and therefore create dialogues among different experiences and different contexts.

In the past days, we have received lots of requests from many of you to receive in advance a draft of the study group programme. Next week we will be able to share with you the draft of the programme."

An Extraordinary Learning Journey

Susan and I will participate in the First International Summer School in Reggio Emilia, Italy from July 4 – 16, 2010. This experience will provide us a deeper understanding of the Reggio Emilia approach, and we intend to share and infuse this learning within the entire BHCP community upon our return.

While we are in Reggio Emilia, Susan and I plan to post our thoughts, reflections and many pictures from our experience here. We hope that you will be in Reggio Emilia with us through this communication vehicle.

Our participation in the First International Summer School is made possible by the generous support of the BHCP Board of Directors, who helped fund my attendance to include tuition, books as well as a significant portion of my travel expenses. Susan and I are also making personal contributions toward this professional development opportunity. We intend to work very hard to ensure that the rewards of this investment will be felt in our entire community as we continue our work to enhance the partnership among children, families and educators here for many years to come.

We invite you to post your questions and curiosities about the Reggio Emilia approach so we may seek the information in which you are interested while we are there.