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"Trees give the earth life and beauty." (Laura, 5 years old)
Children and educators of the city of Reggio Emilia's preschools and infant-toddler centres have been celebrating the centenary of the birth of Professor Loris Malaguzzi , father of the Reggio Emilia Approach, with an imaginative and insightful study on trees. It is on display in 77 shops in the town centre - here is a video presentation for those of us who are not yet visiting the centre and appreciating it first-hand:
The future of the planet and the defence of the environment are among the themes of a true world emergency and among the most "felt" by children and young people.
The children relate with innate empathy to the natural world, they wonder about what can be considered "living" and what are the elements that unite and distinguish all living beings.
The "Imagine a forest" project was born out of these children's questions and their desire to understand the natural world.
The protagonists are children, trees and the language of graphics.
The trees representing the vast world of living subjects who inhabit the Earth together with us. Trees, which children and humanity must learn to respect, love, perceive as plant brothers, recognising them as fundamental for the survival of the planet.
© Preschools and kindergartens - Institution of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and Reggio Children
Typing up notes from a 2019 visit, it occurred to me that it could be interesting to share. It may help you picture the life of a preschool in Reggio. There is also a lovely minute's video by Reggio on our page 'Introductory Articles on Reggio Emilia's Preschools' . ...
Spring 20019 visit to Otto Marzo Preschool
8.30 – 9a.m.
This is the preschool with the circular layout, by the canal; rich in its habitation and embedded in the close locality: quiet streets, dads and children walking or biking in. The spring 'snow' – blossom/seeds – is drifting around.
…a boy, 5, scoots through the internal piazza on his scooter (!) Other children meet, and two hold the door for a while meeting each other, possibly waiting for friends. Children bounce and skip around, meeting each other; there's a hum of easy voices and conversations of children and adults.
Projects documented in the entrance area show how they are joyfully developing their environment and relationships in it – the fence sculpture with 'secret ways' through to the canal path; relationships with the city e.g. project for everyone to travel by bike not car.
We've added to our Reggio Preschools introduction page a video interview of Professor Carla Rinaldi recounting the first days of the emergence of Reggio's preschools, after the destruction of WWII: " democracy cannot be taught but has to be lived - learned through real processes of democracy, not just about voting … but about the practice of reciprocity and mutual respect … in the processes of participating in life."
In these days, across the world, these messages are surely extremely pertinent.