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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
In preparing for our 11 November conference 'All our Futures' in London, and we're reminded that the Freebook version of the new edit of Loris Malaguzzi's writing remains available from Routledge. Click on the image or go here to get it.
Conference participants will also get a discount on Routledge books - for the day only -.from the Contesting Childhood series. We will not stock all of the series, but if you're coming to the conference and would like a specific title, we can make sure it's there for you. Of course we will also have Sightlines Initiative and Reggio Children publications.
Loris Malaguzzi, founder of Reggio Emilia's educational philosophy, pointed out in the 1970's that when learning and playing are seen as the same matter, then we create the environment from which joy can emerge.
More and more parents and educators are today raising their voice because they believe in the fundamental value of this joy. Instead, current models of education are asking pupils, from preschool to college, to "discover the world already there", limiting learning to just one way of learning. Even worse, education is going to be made of another matter, grey coloured, far away from joy: policies with the specific targets of putting academic tests at the forefront, leaving in the back children's emotional development and wellbeing (see here the diary item about PISA test proposal and endorsement by the UK Minister for Education Nick Gibb). It seems that politicians in power have entirely disconnected from the world of learning and children, and become exclusively obsessed with the make-believe world of statistics.
Here is Malaguzzi's eloquent poem, narrated at the opening of Reggio's 'Not just Anyplace' video: