Archive for April, 2010

Pauline Gibbons states in her book, English Learners, Academic Literacy and Thinking, 2009, that if we as teachers want to create intellectually challenging environments for our ESL students then we must provide rich learning tasks which are……

problem based

require deep understanding

is for an uadience broader than the teacher

are in a real – world settings

range in length from short-term to long-term projects

are open ended, complex and authentic

take a variety of forms..visual, media…

require students to connect with other learning

..and consider alternatives

require substantive conversation from students

and elaborated upon communication in written or visual form.


This is what I saw being provided for 4 and 5 year olds at Reggio Emilia .




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Did you know that in Reggio Emilia, Italy preschool and toddler centres…

  • children have Special Rights NOT Special Needs?

  • education is a RIGHT and therefore it is the responsibility of the whole community?

  •  value difference by employing Cultural Mediators to work with children to validate languages and cultures other that Italian?


  • create Intercultural Spaces in the community where families, children, teachers and community work together to recognise and value identities other than their own?


  • view Multiculturalism as a right and therefore bilingualism?


  • recognise that all children/families have the Right to be Welcomed?


  • see active listening by the teacher/adult as the KEY to understanding the child, getting to know the  child, and being more conscious and aware of what we (teachers) THINK as opposed to what we DO…


  • teachers learn to WAIT……..STEP BACK……..never short circuit the learning process by giving the child the answer……but know when to intervene to support children’s hypothesising, problem sloving, thinking…..


  • believe children are active protagonists in their own growth and development….and that they are capable of directing their own learning?


  • believe that it is disrespectful to view children as lacking or poor in experience or language?


  • view learning as a process of interaction where everyone builds and re-builds MEANING; where there is freedom to make mistakes; to collaborate and experience conflict with others; where childern’s curiosity is listened to,  provoked….

  • believe that children’s competence needs to be made visible to others through documentation ….in public spaces….in parks…..in piazzas….in trees…..in shops……in streets…..in windows….in public libriaries….in theatres……


  • ………this is culture MADE VISIBLE

The world is round and sooner or later roads meet up and people can change country.

David 4.9 years


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Reggio is short to go around….


there’s the fountain…..

that’s near the square……

If you go down Via Emila, you can get to the centre of town. It’s the old road. It’s not that wide but it’s real long!!!!

When you get to the centre, you can tell by the houses…,.They’re all stuck together. It’s like a chain!

You can smell the smell of the cafes, the smells of coffee, tea and pastries and lots of good things……

In Reggio everyone has a bike: the men, the mothers, the children……

When I ride my bike I feel air, and if you go real fast you feel the wind and your heart beats fast.








The madonna statue at the Cathedral is made of antique gold…It’s very rare and it’s really, really, really old. And it’s precious, really precious!

In the square there are lots of market stalls, and you can buy anything you want!……







You  can smell the perfume of the ladies that go by……

the fresh bread and the bakery smells…..

 Written by the children of Reggio Emilia

Reggio Tutta: A guide to the cityby the children, 2000

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Stranded in Milan!!

Four extra days in Milan courtesy of the volcanic ash from the erupting volcano in Iceland. What a place to be stranded! Bravissimo!

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Neruda preschool….I watched…..

a young child of four

dexteriously wind thin wire into a scultpture

to resemble her drawing of a ballerina.

Her fingers worked nimbly as she twists and turns the wire

She stops. Pauses. Thinks.

Then continues, turning her creation this way and that way


she comes to an impasse.

How to create hte legs?

She yawns. She waits.

She knows her teacher may help her s…

the atelierista

Or maybe her friend will help.

The girl traces ger friends scultpture with her fingers

absent mindedly….almost…

Her atelier suggests…..converses…..

the girl and her friend smile….then laugh

and begin to help each other finish their masterpieces

I was astonished at the very deep level of thinking



that I saw the children engaged in yesterday at Neruda Preschool.

I was in awe of the setting – an old building, scuffed furniture – that had been bought to life by caredul, thoughtful placement of materials, equipment, artwork, documentation….

I was mesmirised by the light and shadoww

by the colour, the energy and vibrancy of learning.


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Childre are the best evaluators and the most sensitive judges of the values and usefulness of creativity.

This comes about because they have the privilige of not being excessively attached to their own ideas, which they constyruct and reinvent continuously.

They are apt to explore, make discoveries,

change their points of view,

and fall in  love with forms and meanings that transform themselves.

Loris Malaguzzi

The hundred Languages of Children.

The  challenge for educators

is to trust the children to do this.

The challenge for me

is to not be excessively attached to my ideas

to the point where I close off

other opportunities to learn.

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Day 1 of Reggio Emilia conference

Make children’s culture visible…..

To engage the community

Education is a right

Which the whole community is responsible

for upholding

How do we promote the rights and potential of children?

Make children active protagonists

of their own learning

That way, they will own their growth and development

as learners.

Do we respect children as learners/

Do we think of them as lacking

or of being poor….

in language

in experience….

in learning?

Do we disrespect them

by pushing onto children

forced schedules of knowledge?

Childre ARE capable


building knowledge

through interaction with others

Children ARE capable


thinking in complex ways

and of creating, questioning, hypothesising

and doing this

thtrough their own sense of time


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